Wildfire Survivors Begin Road to Recovery

Allyson Roach has endured 13 skin grafts and the amputation of all her fingers as she recovers from burns suffered last fall during Southern California's firestorms. Her 16-year-old sister, Ashleigh, died trying to flee the flames.


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SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Allyson Roach has endured 13 skin grafts and the amputation of all her fingers as she recovers from burns suffered last fall during Southern California's firestorms. Her 16-year-old sister, Ashleigh, died trying to flee the flames.

Rudy Reyes, burned over 65 percent of his body, can barely move his arms and legs and a recent operation to graft skin from his stomach to his right hand increased his use of painkillers. The 26-year-old barely escaped the blaze, forced to run to safety after his car wouldn't start.

Roach and Reyes are expected to survive but will need months, if not years, to fully recover. The blazes claimed 24 lives, including a 53-year-old man who died Jan. 13, leveled 4,800 homes and other buildings and charred more than 750,000 acres.

``The pain is always there. It's just a matter of dealing with it,'' Reyes said. ``You've got to say, 'I'm not going to stay here. I'm going to recover. I'm going to get out of bed and get out of this situation.'''

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