BUTTE COUNTY (CBS13) — Hundreds of firefighters from all across Northern California are battling the Ponderosa Fire in Butte County.
It started Tuesday afternoon and quickly spread to more than 1,000 acres by nightfall.
“I was worried a lot when it come up over that hill,” said Gary Honroth, who lives on Lumpkin Road. “It was maybe a 400-foot wall of flames.”
Honroth told CBS13 he watched his back porch catch fire in four different places. And after 27 years in his house, no fire had ever scared him until this one.
“I’ve seen them everywhere but I’ve never seen them in here and I told them if we ever have a fire in this canyon, it’s going to be bad,” Honroth said.
He said it’s because the brush in the canyon behind his home had never been cleared. He’s grateful for the change in the wind and firefighters who helped keep his house safe.
“They did a fantastic job,” Honroth said, about the firefighters in the area. “They really did. They saved this place.”
Calfire says it’s hard to estimate how many structures have been affected but as of Tuesday night, several homes on Lumpkin Road had been destroyed. More than 60 fire engines continued to wind through Lumpkin Road, hours after locals scrambled to get away from the flames.
Just seven weeks ago, the Wall Fire burned thousands of acres in Butte County. Many locals say they’re concerned about seeing that kind of destruction once again.
“People losing homes is a horrible, horrible tragedy,” said Judy Rasmussen.
Still, over at Peppercorn Acres, Rasmussen and her husband Paul are staying put for now.
“I guess you kind of wait until they come back and say you got to go because we didn’t want to go!” Rasmussen said.
With 17 chickens, three dogs, and a house full of memories, Rasmussen told CBS13 she hopes the flames die down soon, so she won’t have to go anywhere.
“Just the thought of going to a shelter and sleeping on a cot and trying to put my three dogs somewhere was really scary to me,” she said.
A shelter has opened at the Church of the Nazarene and a shelter for small animals is now open at Old County Hospital in Oroville.