DE SABLA LAKE (CBS13) — Despite mandatory evacuations for the Camp Fire, some residents decided to stay with their properties. They all had their own reasons, but that decision has caused worry for loved ones who are unable to reach them now.
When the Camp Fire was raging, over 100 people evacuated to De Sabla reservoir.
Marty Smith evacuated with “a couple dogs, cats, and a bearded dragon.”
Marty and Gayle Smith are in good spirits considering the circumstances.
“I know people have been worried. We didn’t have any way to get through to them,” said Smith.
The two are camping, sleeping in their car alongside De Sabla lake above Magalia. They went there to escape the Camp Fire.
“We got fire on all sides of us. We can go into the lake and the dam is made of rock so we are going to use that to our advantage,” said Marty with a shrug.
They didn’t know it, but Marty’s brother had been searching the evacuation shelters for them all day Friday and Saturday morning. He connected with Marty’s son Mike over the phone, once Mike had checked into a hotel in Chico.
“It was scary, sad this kind of thing happens,” said Mike.
Paradise looks like a bomb went off, there are burnt out abandoned cars littering the streets, buildings are collapsed and fires are still flickering while law enforcement responds to calls for service throughout the area.
“Our place is still standing. They are trying to hold the front line there. So we are grateful for that,” said Marty Smith.
Back at lake De Sabla, the remaining dozen campers were eager to connect with friends and family.
“My name is Adam McKeon and I want to say hi to my wife and kids,” one said.
Justin Tomkin said he wanted to say, “hi to Melina and the kids”
While crews continue to fight the fire on several fronts, national guardsmen are protecting private property until people can return home.
This group said they will stay as long as need be. They don’t want to go down the hill because they’re afraid they won’t be able to get back up. They said this situation will be fine as long as the fire stays away.