Dramatic drone images released Monday offered a grim record of the devastation in Shasta County, where the Carr fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes.
The images showed swaths of homes leveled by the flames in suburban subdivisions and more rural areas. The eerie images, taken after fire crews had left, show empty neighborhoods, some with houses standing normally next to those reduced to rubble. The fire swept into Redding, Calif., in late July, killing at least six people and leveling whole neighborhoods.
This weekend, some residents returned to their areas to assess the destruction.
Marilyn and Nick Peters stepped lightly on their home’s burnt remains Saturday, occasionally hunching over to sift through a pile of rubble.
Nick, 49, tried to find the silver lining in the situation. They had lost their home, one of at least 1,600 destroyed in a span of a few days last week, but they survived, were insured and managed to save a few mementos.
“I found my ring; it still has all the diamonds,” Marilyn said with a half-smile. Nick reached into a pile of stuff on the driveway and pulled out a round, flat piece of cement with Marilyn’s handprint from when she was 5 years old. “I knew this wouldn’t burn,” he joked.
Nick, who works for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., said he’d returned to the neighborhood with crews a week ago to begin restoring power. “Then, I was numb,” he said. “Today it hit me.”
Dan Kissick was among those returning this weekend. He said the fire had overwhelmed his neighborhood faster than anyone expected on July 26. After more than a week away, Kissick came back to the site of his home on Kellinger Street to find it gone, except for some portions of walls.
The night of the fire, Kissick and his family fled when the air filled with smoke and the sky turned an orange-red. They grabbed a suitcase and some shirts, but hadn’t packed a proper “go-bag” filled with important belongings or supplies, Kissick said.
“I basically only took clothes for two or three days, thinking I’ll be back. That was obviously a misjudgment,” said Kissick, 60. “I knew it was bad, but I didn’t think it was that bad.”
Nearly every home on the block was destroyed except for a two-story one with scorched palm trees in the backyard.
Kissick said he considered himself lucky in the grand scheme of things. He and his family had a relative to stay with the night they fled. The next day, they snagged a rental property nearby before those were all snapped up by the thousands of other evacuees.
“Nobody got hurt, so you’ve got to look at the good,” he said. “I know not everybody was as lucky.”