Eiler Fire: evacuations lifted, Hat Creek residents return home

Aug 6, 2014 7:49 PM by Charlene Cheng

The smoke is still a spectacle over the Hat Creek area, but Elsa Garza and her family are grateful to be back in their homes, and even more grateful that their land is safe.

"This is all Indian trust land. It's my mother-in-law's and father-in-law's, and our aunt's property," Garza said.

They were asked to leave on Saturday night, and immediately grabbed their valuables.

"Just our papers, our mail that we really needed at the time, our pictures, we were all together," Garza said.

Just south of them on Highway 89, Craig Schneider diligently kept an eye on the flames.

"We saw the fire rolling down the mountain and it was spotting ahead of itself, it was south of us, and at that point we got pretty tense but we were packed up and ready to go," he said.

As a former Forest Service firefighter, Schneider took precautions to keep his house safe.

"We took all the flammable things that we could find and put them out in the open away from the house, tried to clear pine needles and debris away, basically things like that, set up sprinkler systems, hose lays, we have a ditch that they let water through from Hat Creek," he said.

With fire personnel still a constant presence in the landscape, some residents are waiting to return to their homes.

"At this point, many of these fires are starting to wind down, firefighters have made great strides in containing many of the fires. We'll continue to be vigilant, we'll continue to work those lines and those spots inside the lines," said Mike Smith, a public information officer for CAL FIRE.


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