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Elk Creek resident recounts August Complex evacuation, community slowly reopens

An Elk Creek resident recounts the morning she had to evacuate from the August Complex, now the community in west Glenn County is slowly reopening after reductions in evacuation orders.

Posted: Aug 21, 2020 4:27 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2020 4:46 PM

ELK CREEK, Calif. - An Elk Creek resident is recounting the morning she had to evacuate due to the August Complex. Now, the community in west Glenn County is slowly reopening after evacuation orders have been reduced.

RELATED: 10 homes destroyed in August Complex fires

Folks who live in Elk Creek are slowly getting back to everyday life. On Wednesday morning, evacuation orders were issued in the communities surrounding the small town.

One of those residents impacted was Brenda Criner. "I bailed about an hour before that occurred," Criner said.

Criner has lived in Elk Creek for 23 years, on a street named Oak, she had a sense that something wasn't right early Wednesday.

"I knew it was coming," Criner said, adding "you can tell by that rapid rate of the fire it was coming too fast."

As soon as they got the order - she and her husband gathered their pets, grabbed whatever they could, and left.

"I decided to go up to Stony Ford. I have Verizon and Verizon doesn't work very well up there," Criner said.

She lost all communication, not knowing whether her home survived.

"It was very scary," Criner said emotionally.

Criner and her husband returned Thursday, her home was still standing and a sobering site to show how close the fire came.

"I have whole leaves, I've collected in there that are burnt," Criner said. "That is how large the debris fell."

To give a perspective, Elk Creek has nearly 300 residents. One of those residents is a restaurant owner, Sharon Green, she decided to reopen "Nancy's Elkhorn Family Lodge," so she could feed the firefighters battling the August Complex.

"I came back on Wednesday, I made cold sandwiches that day," Green shared. It was a relief that Green wanted to provide with everything going on around Elk Creek.

Well, they're [the firefighters] glad to have a place to get something cold to drink," Green said.

Despite the high fire danger that Elk Creek has, Criner tells Action News Now that she has no plans to move. 

"I'm going to stay as long as it's still standing," Criner said.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 903684

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Fire danger will be extreme Sunday-Monday as the biggest dry wind event of the season takes shape. A widespread freeze in the Sierra-Cascades as low as single-digit values possible Sunday night. Mild & sunny weather after Tuesday.
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