Residents return home as French Fire threat dwindles; evacuation orders lifted

Local News

Almost two weeks ago residents in the Kern River Valley faced the possibility of losing their homes, so without a doubt, the week has started with good news for dozens of residents.

“We stay until the last people have a place to go or can go back to their homes,” said Julie Creek, a shelter assistant with the American Red Cross. “Clients have been able to go back to their homes but we are still open, ready to serve anyone that still needs a place to stay.”

Smoke continues to cloud the Kern River Valley but soon it will clear. For now, residents in the valley are heading home.

Over at the frontlines, the fight continues and firefighters remain optimistic.

“We feel pretty confident,” said Alex Olow with Cal Fire. “The fire is reacting to our work, and if we continue that we should be successful.”

The threat is dwindling but the lessons from surviving a wildfire are priceless.

“When you live in a fire-prone area like the Kern River Valley you should always be prepared,” said Olow. “Have a small bag on the side, keep it in the closet by the door so that you can grab it when it is time to go.”

The sense of community is what really helped this community get thru this.

“People that we had here at the shelter were a close-knit community,” said Creek. “They were friends and they helped each other out and I saw a lot of people stepping up to help others that they did not know before and a lot of people left here with friendships.”

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