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Neighbors helped each other as CA wildfire burned close to homes


By Melanie Wingo

WHEATLAND, California (KCRA) — The Intanko Fire showed no mercy as it burned through dry grassland near a rural Wheatland neighborhood Tuesday.

The Houston family is safe, but the fire burned their home to the ground.

“We saw the fire starting from over there and the wind was so strong that we could just see it coming … we got the hoses and tried to stop it,” said homeowner Jennifer Houston, gesturing toward various directions of her property. “It was just too fast, it was literally over there and then it was burning our house within a matter of 10 minutes or less, so it was pretty intense.”

That intense fire burned extremely close to other homes as well.

Kip Wadkins is feeling grateful his home is still standing, but said he was saddened to hear about his neighbors’ home.

“First thought was relief, and then obviously, my neighbor lost her house,” Wadkins said. “It’s a relief that my house was spared, but it’s just one of those things where it’s a happy/ sad moment.”

Another neighbor, Octavio Estillo, helped douse Wadkins property with water as flames approached.

“I don’t feel like a hero,” Estillo said. “I just do what I can. That’s all.”

Cal Fire said it has stopped the forward progress of the Intanko Fire as of Tuesday evening and that as crews work to fully contain the flames the investigation into the blaze’s cause is underway.

“Our investigators are here actively working on an investigation to determine a cause, but at this point, it’s still undetermined,” said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Bob Counts.

Neighbors in this area said they’ll be keeping an eye out for each other as fire season progresses. They said it comes with the territory of living in a rural area like this.

“We understand the danger of living out here and it’s something that we’re aware of and we always try to keep in the back of our mind when something like this happens,” Wadkins said. “We all got each other’s numbers and will give a call out.”

Meanwhile, the Houston family is trying to stay positive in the face of all they’ve lost.

“You know, this is really sad, but at the same time it’s an opportunity to start new,” said Jennifer Houston. “It’s one of those things that you just go, ‘Well, life gives you lemons…'”

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California News / State & Regional News

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