Evacuated residents returned to Mariposa on Friday as cash registers were once again ringing up summer tourism purchases in this gateway town to Yosemite National Park.
Local merchants had waited anxiously for this moment since Tuesday, when a fast-moving wildfire caused residents to flee this rustic Sierra Nevada enclave of gift shops, restaurants and historic sites.
But even as residents returned, smoke continued to hang in the air from the devastating Detwiler fire, which has so far scorched about 74,000 acres.
The rustic Gold Rush town of 2,000 straddles a two-mile stretch of Highway 140, about 40 west of Yosemite Valley. It is the economic and cultural heart of...