ROUGH AND READY (CBS13) — As a blanket of thick black smoke hovered over Nevada City, thousands of families in this small community of Rough and Ready had to pack and prepare to evacuate.

Rick Tolls and his girlfriend watched the flames creep closer to their home, as fire crews waged an intense battle overhead.

“It’s like a war zone all day long—choppers, bombers,” he said.

Firefighters say bone-dry conditions are making it easier for the flames to spread, while the shifting wind … only makes it harder for them to do their job.

“This area under a red flag. We know that the fire can grow explosively so we’re being very careful,” said Cal Fire Spokesman Brice Bennett.

They’re are urging people to leave while there’s still time. But not everyone’s ready to.

“No, I’m not going to abandon my hometown; I was born and raised here. Ain’t gonna push me away,” said Brian Huff.

Many forced to evacuate, are thankful they did.

You know what, there’s a lot going on all over this world, so lives that are saved are the greatest gift of all, so I’m thrilled. The heck with possessions,” said Grace Knudsen.