AUBERRY, California (KSEE) — For the second day in a row, Auberry Road residents got to go up to the Creek Fire to see their destroyed homes.
The area in the southern part of the fire was hit hard by the early stages of what has become California’s largest fire in History. The only larger fires are complex, meaning multiple fires merged into one.
The Fresno Sherriff’s Office only escorted homeowners of properties that were destroyed. Owners of houses intact were not allowed up.
“it was interesting on the way up from the Valley to come up here,” said resident Jaymie Smith. “It was the weirdest thing. It was like going to a funeral for a friend or something.”
Michael and Jaymie Smith bought their home off of Auberry Road 17 years ago. The Creek Fire stripped almost all of their possessions away.
“I didn’t think it would reach us,” said Michael. “But fire has a mind of its own so here it is.”
The Smiths’ chimney metal garage door the only things that stood tall on the property. The rest of it crumbled into pieces.
The couple took with them a few of the salvaged items including a fire brigade bucket and a stone with their children’s’ handprints.
“It survived!” exclaimed Jaymie. “This is a treasure. You can’t see it because it is kind of dirty but it made it. There are two handprints there.”
While few residents get escorted to their property, others that have homes still standing must wait until crews can address the falling trees, power lines, and hot spots.
CalFire Captain Jordan Motta said although it might look safe from above, tree roots can be hot.
“Fire that is 1400 degrees,” said Motta. “So where it was once solid ground, you could be ankle-deep, knee-deep, sometimes even hip-deep in a fire that is 1200-1400 degrees and that is not what we want to put people in.”
The Sheriff’s Office will escort more people to go and see their property tomorrow higher up on the 168 in the Ockenden Ranch, Littlefield, and Applewine areas. Details can be found here.