Residents watch as homes burn in California

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 25, 2019 - Duration: 02:22s

Residents watch as homes burn in California

One Canyon Country resident describes the feeling of knowing her mother's ashes are being consumed by the Tick wildfire.

She's one of thousands of residents across California who are losing their homes as fires ravage the state.

Michelle Hennessy reports.


Residents watch as homes burn in California

As wildfires ravage parts of California, all some residents can do is watch their homes go up in flames: (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEJANDRA CORRALES, CANYON COUNTRY RESIDENT, SAYING: "Thinking of the fact that my mum's ashes are in the house, she passed away a year and a half ago, important documents you can get back but you start thinking about all the things you can't get back." Alejandra Corrales lives some 30 miles north of Los Angeles, where the Tick fire has sparked an evacuation of around 40 thousand residents.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEJANDRA CORRALES, CANYON COUNTRY RESIDENT, SAYING: "The pens where we house some rescued sheep was too hot for my daughter to open so she couldn't let them out free, so I'm pretty sure we've lost them too".

Hundreds of miles to the north - in Sanoma County, the Kincade fire has destroyed around 10 thousand acres of land.

An evacuation warning in one town there urged residents to be ready to flee at a moment's notice.

One firefighter described the situation on the ground: (SOUNDBITE) (English) AMY HEAD, BATTALION CHIEF, CAL FIRE, SAYING: "We're almost just chasing it and trying to get ahead of it constantly throughout the night, so that's the biggest challenge is being able to actually do some firefighting without it jumping over our lines so we really need the winds to cooperate." The fire has been raging since Wednesday (October 23).

Officials said it erupted near the base of a damaged transmission tower owned by a unit of PG&E.

They stopped short of saying whether it was to blame.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection after its equipment caused devastating wildfires last year, and the year before.

Large parts of California have been under a red alert for most of the week.

And PG&E had shut off power to over a hundred and seventy thousand homes and businesses, in an attempt to reduce the risks of wildfire.

But hot, dry winds are making the battle hard to win.

Back in Canyon County, there was at least some good news for Corrales.

She was finally able to get to what's left of her home.

And found some of her rescued animals survived the blaze: (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEJANDRA CORRALES, CANYON COUNTRY RESIDENT, SAYING: "I mean I know I can't recoup anything that was left in there but at least we could save some of the animals so that makes it a little bit better."

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