YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) — One person died, and dozens of homes were destroyed during the Cascade Fire, which is burning near Loma Rica and Marysville roads.
As of Monday night, it had scorched an estimated 8,200 acres.
Officials said early estimates show 25 homes may have been destroyed.
“It happened so fast. The winds were just tremendous, and the fire was just all over. It was pretty horrifying,” said Mary Mays who left with her husband after smell smoke in the middle of the night.
Folks said they were desperate to flee.
“I got to get out of here because if you don’t, you’re gonna die,” said Daniel Kerstan who was home alone while his parents were on vacation.
The late-night blaze swept through the area fast under red flag conditions.
“The winds they are calm now, but they were 40 to 50 miles an hour last night,” Cal Fire officials said.
By daylight it was clear dozens of homes were destroyed.
“I was expecting the worst,” Kerstan said.
He and his family were lucky.
“(Friends) sent pictures throughout the day and said your house is fine and that was just a huge relief for us knowing that everything was ok and everything us still here,” he said.
Others lost just about everything.
“The owner here that had this house here, she came to us this afternoon and said that her home for town, but was told her horse was left here and she is an elderly woman It was crying and begged us to come get her horse,” said Janette Stewart, a volunteer for the Sutter Sheriff Posse.
They went in to check on three horses and found at least one.
“I just wanted to let you know that we found your horse we got it loaded in the trailer,” said Lance Barmettler, also a volunteer with Posse.
It was the silver lining among so much heartache.
“Oh my God, thank you so much,” cried the woman. “Lance, thank you so much.”
“That makes it worth it,” Barmettler said whole fighting tears.
But other animals didn’t make it.
“All the people where we are standing had no notice other than waking up to flames and fire burning outside their home,” he said.
As these flames continue to spread there’s concern for the La Porte Fire to the north.
“These fires are still getting close to each other and still growing, so they could potentially become just one large burned area,” said Lynne Tolmachoff, Cal Fire spokeswoman.
Those whose homes still stand are thankful for firefighters.
“They’re heroes,” said one homeowner.
Residents fear the neighborhood may never be the same.
Cal Fire said management of the Cascade Fire in Yuba County, the La Porte Fire in Butte County, and the two fires in Nevada County are going to be combined.