Residents escape as fires cause destruction in Yuba, Butte Counties

For some Bangor residents in Yuba county, wildfires have taken everything.

Northern California is experiencing a collection of wildfires simultaneously, which has caused tens of thousands of evacuations including residents in Yuba and Butte counties.

Pat Claiborne was asleep in his home with his pregnant wife and two young sons when suddenly the power went out in the tiny Butte County town of Bangor.

It was about 12:30 a.m. Monday when a friend banged on his door to leave.

"We did a little mile up the road and saw that there were several fires and several different spots. I got my wife and kids up and got them packed up and shipped off to Marysville to evacuate away from the fire," said Claiborne.

His house survived. But what has now become known as the Laporte Fire leveled many of the homes in town with relentless flames fanned by fast moving winds.

"Get horses and animals taken care of and let out so they wouldn't burn out," said Claiborne.

The Laporte Fire is part of four fires that now make up the Wind Complex in Yuba, Butte and Nevada Counties.

About 16,000 acres have burned with the largest of the fires being the Cascade Fire in Yuba County, which is at 11,500 acres burned and only 15 percent contained.

Cal Fire said one person has died.

While some homes were a total loss, other and buildings were left untouched.

Hot spots were still visible around Bangor with mandatory evacuations in place. At the Yuba Sutter County Fairgrounds, people had harrowing stories of survival.

Armand Brunhoebur and his wife Ingrid escaped with their lives as fire surrounded their Loma Rica home early Monday morning.

"See the ash soot mark on the side of my car? The flames were coming on both sides and I was the last one out back there. And when I was coming out the fire truck was coming in," said Brunhoebur.

The Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds has become an evacuation center for those forced from their homes from the fires. Nearly 300 people have taken refuge on cots.

An slew of volunteers are also helping out the shelter which is set up by the Red Cross.

"It's hard for them. But, they're coping in there. It is really amazing. People are actually finding camaraderie and speaking with each other and getting comfort at least," said Russ Brown, spokesman for Yuba County.

A makeshift animal shelter has cats, dogs, bunnies, turtles and even a parrot.

There are also 75 horses that have been dropped off at the nearby Sutter County Sheriff Posse Arena. Volunteers are asking for panels to be donated in order to make more pens for horses.

About an hour before nightfall, tiny pieces of white ash could be seen raining down in Yuba City.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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