Reporting Nick Janes
HAPPY CAMP (CBS13) — Firefighters are gaining the upper hand on the Clover Fire, which has burned nearly 7,000 acres since it started yesterday.
The fire has damaged or destroyed 110 building, at least 30 of them homes. Hundreds of homes are still threatened.
Some evacuees are getting a chance to come back and have a look. Imagine driving down your road, not knowing if you’ll have a home, or if you’ll be coming back to nothing more than a pile of rubble.
With a dazed look on his face, Jack Elliot is back home for the first time knowing he’s one of the lucky ones.
“I don’t think there’s a tree that was untouched, even a little bit.”
His house in Happy Valley is nearly untouched despite it being surrounded by damage on all sides.
He turned away to collect himself for a moment before telling CBS13 about Gloria’s home next door that burned to the ground.
“We’ve been here 21 years, and she’s a good friend.”
The fast-moving Clover Fire ripped through home after home in Shasta County. There’s nothing left at one home but a swimming pool, and down the street, a swingset is about the only thing still standing. The swings melted.
Eric Sawyer says he had no warning to evacuate. The fire was there and gone in minutes.
“It came over the house like a freight train. It turned dark, and the little night lights came on and you couldn’t hear nothing.”
His home was spared. But for so many others, picking up the pieces means starting over.
“I worked really hard on the house and just finished it recently and now, it burned so—that’s—I don’t know,” said Jennifer Nickens.
As firefighters slowly gain the upper hand, neighbors are banding together in this small, remote community, ready to face the rebuilding process together.
“I have a home to go to, but my friend’s houses are gone,” said Joy Silveria. “It’s just devastating to me. Anything I can do for ‘em, I can do for ‘em.”
Much of the smoke is gone now, but there are still hot spots firefighters will be dealing with the next couple of days.
Road closures and evacuations remain in effect for the area. Power lines are down and a water pump station was also damaged.