YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) — In Yuba County, hundreds of people are still taking shelter in evacuation centers as the Cascade Fire continues to burn.
But some are trying to return to their once-vibrant community, to find nothing left.
One man managed to save his home and never left.
“We feel like an island at this point,” his wife said.
It’s one of the only houses still standing on Douglas Way amid a charred wasteland. And the husband and wife living there are perhaps the only two left on this now blackened block.
“Most of the other neighbors took off,” said Gary Fildes.
“It made sense to shelter in place,” said his wife, Beverly.
Beverly and Gary Fildes say fierce flames ripped through their neighborhood Sunday night driven by 50-mile-per-hour winds. They say most of their neighbors were probably still asleep…giving them minutes to escape. But Gary smelled smoke, then saw an orange glow over the hill, and began dumping buckets and jugs of water everywhere.
“I dipped out of the hot tub,” he said.
Now, the water supply’s low, but he still has a freezer full of food. The problem is, he’s used up all the gas in the generator. Leaving to get more would mean taking another risk.
“I’ve been told if we go out, they will not allow us back in,” he said.
Most of his neighbors are stuck in shelters.
“It kind of feels like you’re in a war zone and then you see brokenness everywhere—people hugging and crying. And hoping that their house is standing,” said an evacuee from a nearby shelter.
Pacific Gas & Electric crews are out working on the burned power lines. In Yuba County alone, about 1,300 people are still without power. Officials say they hope to have it restored this week.
Fire officials say the priority now is taming that unpredictable inferno.
“Their ultimate goal is to stop the fire from spreading even further and spreading to even more homes and lives,” said Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynn Tomalchoff.
The fire burned close to 13,000 acres and was 20 percent contained, as of Wednesday evening.