On Thursday, some neighborhoods in the Silverado area of Napa were opened back up to residents to return home. Some were required to have police escorts go with them as they checked on their homes.
Many of them had been gone since Sunday night, when out of nowhere as many residents put it, the Atlas Fire started coming over Atlas Peak.
"There was no evacuation," said Massimo Monticelli, who lives in one of the neighborhoods. "The wind was going so fast. There wasn't time for anybody to know what was going on.'
Monticelli said he and other neighbors started honking their horns, pounding on doors, trying to get everybody out.
"We see the hill just glowing," said Monticelli. "When it started raining fire, embers, that's when I said, I gotta go too now. That's when I left."
In the middle of the night, Monticelli felt he had to go back to save his home.
"I drove through the flames to get up here," said Monticelli. "I don't want to lose anything."
Monticelli said he used a small hose and water bucket to put out the flames around his home. He spent about eight hours working into the morning.
"Embers would fly and billowed just into flames within 10 seconds," explained Monticelli. "Within three minutes, six inch rings of fire. It was crazy."
Monticelli said about half the homes in his neighborhood were burned to the ground.
"One of the houses was completely engulfed, the walls fell toward one of my other neighbor's house," said Monticelli. "I went over and tried to put it out with the hose."
Monticelli feels lucky he has a home to go back to, but without power in his neighborhood, he's still worried about looters. Like the tens of thousands of people affected by the Northern California fires, he is also worried they'll continue to burn and grow with gusty wind conditions.
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