Mainers in California evacuate their home as wildfires creep closer

Mainer in California fires

OJAI, California (NEWS CENTER) - In California, several wildfires continue to burn out of control, as more people are evacuated from their homes.

Some of the strongest Santa Ana winds in recent memory are making matters worse for crews battling the flames. The biggest of the wildfires is an enormous, quick moving blaze called the Thomas Fire. It has surrounded the town of Ojai. That’s where a couple from Brunswick spend the winter months. 

David Libby and his wife Phyllis say their work affords them the ability to spend summers in Maine and winters at their other home in Ojai. But like many Californians right now, they’re going through a tough time.

“The four major fires going on right now I think are at zero containment. It’s just scary when it gets close to your town”, said David Libby.

After evacuating their home on Tuesday, the Libbys decided to go back yesterday. But after spending just a few hour there, they left again.

"We could see it from our house and it was time to go" said David Libby.

They could see the inferno, about 5 blocks away, creeping closer to them.

“Probably a mile was completely engulfed in flames, fire 40 to 50 feet high, just really burning out of control”, he said.

For now the Libbys are staying in their camper about 40-miles away from their home. Because of the fire's direction, they say chances are good it will leave their home unscathed, but it’s the strong winds and embers that scare them. Together they can start new fires miles away. Right now their town is shrouded in smoke, making breathing very difficult.

"The air quality remains low as well, there’s a lot of smoke. It feels like you’re in a foggy day at the beach in Maine, but it’s not fog, it's smoke", David said.

And there’s another concern.

“With all this fire, the mountain lions are on the move and the bears are on the move. We’re a little nervous about that, but we’re excited to go back home”, he said.

The Libbys are hoping to head back to their home later this evening, but they say they’ll leave their camper packed because they know they’re not out of the woods yet and the fires can be very unpredictable.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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