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Families In Calistoga Fear Evacuating Means They Might Lose Everything

SONOMA COUNTY (CBS13) – Smoking hillsides, raging fires, and suffocating smoke filled the once picturesque valley vineyards for the fourth day in a row.

“It really started flaring up today. We can see the flames,” said Greg Winters of Calistoga.

It’s a fire that just won’t quit that’s already killed 13 people throughout the county and burned hundreds of homes.

“Could happen at any minute, so we are ready to go,” he said referring to his home going up in flames.

While thousands were forced to flee, some residents decided to stick around and forgo the mandatory evacuation orders in fear they’ll lose everything.

“We got the water hoses out everywhere. We went down the roof,” Winters said.

His home has been in the family for generations. It was spared in Sunday’s catastrophic storm.

“There’s a lot of blood sweat and tears that went into this place, so I’d like to see it saved,” he said.

Meanwhile, firefighters are fighting the fight for homeowners who left it all behind.

“It is personal. We have firefighters who lost a home or have family members who’ve been affected, so that hits close to home,” said Jonathan Cox with Calfire.

Firefighters fighting 24/7 from all over the region.

“There’s no easy way to put out a large fire. It’s back-breaking work, and at the end of the day it comes down to the hands-on tools and aircraft, and that’s really what we’re in right now. It’s all hands on deck force fight,” he said.

Among the homes lost, animals killed, the most tragic are the lives lost.

“One of the guys here, his uncle died. He died up there on Mountainhome ranch where the Tubbs Fire started and burned through within the first half an hour,” said Sean Behrens of Calistoga.

He sent his family packing and is sticking around hoping and praying the end is near.

“You got to imagine that it’s going to come to an end. But I mean keeps finding new areas to burn,” he said.

More from Jennifer McGraw
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