Robin Navickas left behind her hearing aids and even her shoes when the Saddleridge Fire was creeping toward her home. When she returned hours later, everything was reduced to piles of ash.
“She just kept thinking that some things will still be there in the middle of the house and I kept trying to tell her no,” her son Errol Navickas told CNN outside his mother’s home. “The front of the house is all that’s there.”
The wildfire in northern Los Angeles has destroyed 31 homes and burned more than 7,500 acres, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. More than 1,000 firefighters have been battling the blaze, but it remains 13% contained as of Friday.
A firefighter suffered an injury to his eye, but no deaths have been linked to the fire, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters.
About 100,000 people were forced to evacuate homes in several Los Angeles neighborhoods when the blaze began spreading rapidly, fueled by strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity.
In Porter Ranch, Andro Mammo drove his siblings away from the flames as fast as he could when the fire reached their home.
“When I looked out in my backyard, I saw flames and I saw how close it was, and my number one instinct wasn’t to grab clothes or anything, but it was to get my little brother and my little sister,” Mammo recalled.
Some residents have been allowed back in or near their homes, but city officials said the danger is not over yet.
“It’s not the fire itself but the danger of wind that can bring an ember blowing it someplace and seeing entire neighborhood overnight getting lit up,” Garcetti said.
The Saddleridge fire is just one of the several blazes in Southern California fueled by one of those fires has left at least one person dead, and many parts of the region are under red-flag warnings — meaning there’s a high risk of fire — into Saturday afternoon.