Firefighters try to drain burning railcar in Calif.

LINCOLN, Calif. —Firefighters began making a bold attempt Wednesday to drain a burning propane rail tanker but the process to head off a catastrophic explosion in a Northern California town was slowed by the fire's intense heat.

The rail blaze kept thousands of people away from their homes for a second day. Crews had hoped to start draining the propane from the tanker into a newly dug retaining hole at around 5 p.m., but the process was slowed by the fire, Lincoln Fire Chief Dave Whitt said.

"They can only work half an hour at a time," he said.

Whitt said the city decided to try draining the tanker after consulting with members of a national response team from Houston, who were flown in overnight to offer advice to authorities in Lincoln, a Sacramento suburb.

Couple found dead in desert identified

RIVERSIDE, Calif. —A prominent Dutch music promoter and his German girlfriend have been identified as the pair found dead in Joshua Tree National Park earlier this week.

Riverside County sheriff's authorities said Wednesday that evidence suggests 44-year-old Augustinus Van Hove and 38-year-old Helena Nuellett probably died after being exposed to the desert heat.

Their bodies were found Monday evening after they apparently became stranded in the desert for about six hours, when temperatures topped 106 degrees. Authorities say they were heading to Arizona, and their rental sedan was found abandoned on a dirt road that park officials say should only be for four-wheel-drive vehicles.