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Officials this morning urged residents to closely follow the news today, as the erratic behavior of winds could change the direction and strength of the wildfires quickly.

There was some optimism today when the death toll stayed at one and the region experienced its first westerly winds.

“If there’s a statistic that sticks out, it’s the minimal loss of life,” said county Supervisor Ron Roberts.

Still, he said, there are no signs of significant changes in the weather patterns.

Mayor Jerry Sanders again urged people to stay away from work and off the freeways if at all possible to keep the main thoroughfares open for rescue vehicles; he also said people should stay off their cell phones. He and San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarman said residents may be allowed back into neighborhoods today, but officials will do so cautiously because the fires are still unpredictable.

San Diego Gas & Electric official Mike Niggli said the company has lost a number of transmission lines in the fire. He called on residents to conserve energy.

“Today is going to be a tight day on the power grid,” he said.

Ron Lane, director of the Office of Emergency Services, said today would be another dangerous day. Officials said an estimated 1,000 homes have been lost, but that number hasn’t been confirmed; they will begin to assess the damage today.

“Hopefully we’re going to finish off with the worse of it,” Roberts said. He continued: “Today is going to be the pivotal day.”

ANDREW DONOHUE

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