Signs of hope grow in the raging Arizona fire

There were signs of progress Sunday in the battle against the raging wildfire in arizona. Officials now say that 6 percent of the fire has been contained. That's up from yesterday. Additionally, 7,000 residents were allowed to return home.

CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports that in the midst of what appears to be hellish devastation, locals have found some good news. The winds did pick up Sunday, as was predicted and feared, but they blew the fire back on itself, over areas already burned.

"We don't like to say this kind of stuff, but we turned a corner," said Jerome McDonald with Southwest Area Incident Management Team.

That wasn't all the good news.

"Residents of the Springerville, Eager and South Fork areas who were evacuated because of the massive Wallow fire have been allowed to return to their homes," said Cmdr. Webb Hogle with the Apache County Sheriff's Department.

As Arizona fire spreads, health conditions worsen
Photos: The Arizona wildfire

Those are words Sherry Counts had been waiting to hear since fleeing Eager, Ariz., just one step ahead of the fires. On Sunday, she found her house just as she'd left it six days earlier.

"This is the happiest day I've had in a long time," Sherry said when she finally got home.

Not everyone got good news, however. At Beaver Creek Ranch, owner Billy Wiltbank had five of his eight guest cabins destroyed by the flames, cabins that were built by his father and grandfather.

"That's just history that you lose right there. You can't rebuild history, but we can make new history," Billy said.

As the massive Arizona fire dies down, Billy won't be alone in his need to rebuild.

Even with signs of progress, officials warn that things aren't as good as they could be. Air quality in the region is six times worse than normal, and officials are warning people with respiratory illnesses to stay away.