COLFAX (CBS13) — Clouds of smoke covered Colfax on Wednesday as the fast-moving River Fire forced evacuations in Placer and Nevada counties.
Denise Clark, who moved to Colfax just three months ago, witnessed the flames overtake her neighborhood.
“It’s gone, everything is gone,” explained Clark.
She lives in a trailer on her son’s property near his house in Colfax. Clark saw smoke and called her son Jesse, to see what was going on, by that time Jesse had just started to see the flames coming towards his house.
“All of a sudden the sheriff showed up and they were like ‘Get out, get out now!’ The noise was going off and all that stuff. The fire came up right underneath the house, and they went back into the house and it was filled with smoke already,” she said.
Everything inside Clark’s car, including her dog, was all that she has left. She said both of their homes were destroyed in the fire.
“He said mom ‘Get out now!’ As soon as we left, we saw fire everywhere, everywhere, we pretty much drove through it,” explained Clark.
Lines of cars filled with only the essentials made their way out of downtown. Joseph Goulet lives in the evacuation zone. He was given just minutes to grab his most important possessions.
“I really just wanted my dad’s ashes and her two animals,” Goulet explained. “How do you put a value on how precious life is whether it be animals or a memento of someone you love,” he said.
His mom Lorrie Goulet is also safe, but now left wondering how close the fire will come to her home.
“My house is right in the canyon, in the trees and all of the brush, I’m just concerned that tomorrow I might not have one,” she explained.
Lorrie Barnes watched as ambulances and first responders took over her town. She only had time to grab her medication and a couple of important documents before she was evacuated.
“I’m shaking like a leaf, but it’s OK. I have my family together and that’s what matters,” said Barnes.
As of Wednesday night, officials said 35-40 structures have been destoryed. About 4,000 structures were threatened with half of those in the Colfax area.