FALLBROOK, Calif., Nov. 1, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Galleries and shops that line historic Main Street in Fallbrook are open for business. Classes have resumed at the Art Campus of Fallbrook. Hotels and golf courses are tending to guests. The community's namesake winery is busy with the 2007 harvest and weddings are being booked in this picturesque venue.

After a disastrous fire that charred more than 9,000 acres and destroyed more than 200 homes, in Fallbrook, a rural arts and culture community in Northern San Diego County, it's pretty much business as usual.

"We are pretty much back to normal but our heart goes out to homeowners who lost property," said Pat Sutliff, owner of A Few of Our Favorite Things and president of the Downtown Merchants Association, a group that includes nearly two-dozen Fallbrook merchants. "Fortunately, none of our businesses were affected by the Rice Canyon Fire."

That's not to say there weren't any close calls. Ira Gourvitz, owner of Fallbrook Winery, was forced to leave his award-winning winery for a couple of days but it suffered no damage.

"We had fire burn all around us, but we weren't touched," he told a local newspaper. "We were really lucky."

Even Pala Mesa Resort, which was in the crosshairs of the fire after it jumped the 15 freeway, is brushing off the ash and moving on.

"The resort will be fully operational later this week," its Web site proclaimed. "We look forward to this weekend and the scheduled weddings! The golf course looks great, so bring your clubs and enjoy the California sunshine."

The community is also doing its best to take care of those who lost their homes. Grand Tradition workers and ownership have pitched in to help one of their employees whose mobile home burned down in the fire.

"We helped out with temporary housing, clothes and food while he gets back on his feet," said Don McDougal, vice president and chief executive of Grand Tradition, a popular wedding spot.

At the same time, McDougal was upbeat about the future.

"We are here. We are fine. We haven't skipped a beat," he noted.

Fallbrook Area Visitor's Bureau
Linda Kissam, Executive Director