CALAVERAS COUNTY (CBS13) —A wildfire changed the lives of one family forever.
The Maria Fire started on Monday, scorching more than 1,000 acres and severely burning a local rancher.
Cellphone video shows the fire racing up a hill headed toward Dianna Rios’ home. Her husband David was still there.
“I told him I was going to go up the road, and he said ‘OK good, I’m right behind you,'” she said.
Somehow David was caught in the fire. Dianna saw the medevac helicopter and knew it had to be for him.
David is in critical condition with third-degree burns across 90 percent of his body at UC Davis Medical Center. His survival odds are slim at 3 percent.
“The only thing that did not burn were just above his ankles and his feet, because he was wearing his work boots,” she said. “The nurse came back in and handed me his belt buckle and said this is all that’s left.”
The family survived the Butte Fire just two years ago, but they lost all their cattle. They were just starting to rebuild when the Maria Fire broke out.
“I’m always telling him be careful, and he’ll always tell me no. That’s just him,” she said. “So the first thing I asked him was, ‘Did you forget to be careful?’ and he shook his head yes.”
The journey ahead will be a costly one, and the family has setup a GoFundMe page.
“Once they took the intubator out, he could only move his lips, and they were swollen, but I certainly did understand ‘I love you,'” she said.