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Thousands Waiting For CAL FIRE To Lift Wall Fire Evacuation Orders

@ButteWxSpotter / Twitter

@ButteWxSpotter / Twitter

Thousands waited Monday for CAL FIRE to lift evacuation orders for the Wall Fire area.  Some neighbors are already doing what they can to help others.

With smoke replaced by blue skies, many people at the evacuation center in Oroville wondered why they couldn't return home.  Firefighter Bennet Milloy says there are other hazards besides flames to worry about.

"We come in and literally extinguish the ash within—it depends on how hot the area is—100 feet, 300 feet or 500 feet and they do that and a lot of the work that goes on right now is we remove the hazard trees. When a fire comes through, trees fall," says Milloy. "They kill firefighters all the time and they kill citizens when they go back in."

While the evacuees waited, the Salvation Army and American Red Cross distributed water, snacks, meals, medicine and clothing.

In some cases, neighbors helped neighbors.

"Clothes! This gentleman here gave me a pair of shorts that I'm wearing," said evacuee Richard Snelson.

071017Wall FireNeighbors Franz Longsworth and Richard Snelson.

All he could offer Franz Longsworth was the shade of his motorhome as they waited for news. Snelson held his shirt in his hand, to dry his eyes.

"Some people lost and say know they've lost. Some people say they don't know. I have another truck with motorcycles that I put in a big clearing and I'm hoping that maybe the fire jumped over it? You know. I'm laughing about it because I don't want to cry."

Longsworth says he has seen pictures that show his home survived.

"For those of us who have been privileged to have a property, I think it is our duty and responsibility to help those who are less fortunate and rebuild our community as a loving one."

There will be ample opportunities. An update Monday night from CAL FIRE says at least 37 structures were destroyed.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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