NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — Thousands of people evacuated as the Lobo and McCourtney fires continue to burn in Nevada County.
Firefighters were able to stop the forward progress of the McCourtney fire at 80 acres with about 10 percent containment Monday night. The Lobo Fire grew to 900 acres with zero percent containment by nightfall.
Cal Fire spokesperson Brice Bennett says 30-40 structures have been damaged or destroyed and many of those are homes.
“We saw the flames all across the ridge, it was pretty scary,” said evacuee Connie Skelton.
Skelton and her two kids were among the evacuees at Twin Cities Church, enjoying a hot meal after being forced to leave their home near Lake Wildwood.
“It’s very stressful, it’s draining, this is our first fire,” said Vickie Wilkerson.
Wilkerson and her family are among the 8,000 people from the Nevada County community of Rough and Ready as well as residents from Lake Wildwood who were evacuated.
She said they had minutes to escape, leaving little time to grab personal belongings.
“We didn’t pack anything other than the dogs and kittens,” she said.
It was an emotional day, as her son and daughter-in-law sat anxiously; they had just moved into a new home.
“We’ve got a lot to lose,” said Delilah Jameson.
While the Wilkersons were fortunate enough to escape, she realizes many were not.
“I’m worried about other people, we’re OK, it’s the other people,” said Wilkerson.
For those forced to leave their homes, evacuation centers at First Baptist Church and Twin Cities Church were set up, that’s where we found 90-year-old Anthony Hayes and his wife.
“It’s been a long day, a long day. It’s the first time for both of us to go through something like this,” said Anthony.
The couple were on their own and had to get themselves to safety. Anthony, who’s a published author, says he grabbed a few books and made sure he at least had a good pillow.
“I have a trouble with pillows. So I packed my own, I grabbed things that would at least make a good pillow,” he said.
And while these families anxiously wait, they’re grateful to the men and women on the front lines.
“We’re so indebted to them, they’re giving their lives for us, I just hope everything turns out good for everyone,” said Wilkerson.