"I was alone in the house when the fire had happened. I began to grab some clothes but when I turned around and looked out the window the flames were right there. I could feel heat coming from the walls," said Almazan, 50.
Almazan and her husband
The 36,000-plus-acre blaze, which began
The couple is living in their handmade shed, with a mattress and a few blankets situated inside the small wooden structure, until they figure out what to do. Like many affected by the fire,
"We had to take everything out of the storage unit in order to sleep in there,"
The couple also had their own chicken coop, where they raised hens and rosters. All but three chickens survived the flames.
As for personal hygiene, both
"We've called the county and right now they said to wait about a week as they're investigating the problem. We're still waiting for someone to respond to us,"
Farther down the road is a young man who now lives in a small RV trailer after losing his home in the fire.
"This house was hand built by my father 20 years ago and he passed away just two years ago," said the young man, who asked not to be identified. "After being evacuated, my niece had turned on the news and my dad's house happened to have been on television. It was something else standing there and watching it burn to nothing."
The young man said he has no electricity, no insurance and all memories of the home turned to ashes.
"This kind of disaster is so hard to get by. It's like starting over," he said. "You just take it step by step and make the best you can of it. The community and my neighbors who also lost their homes have been gathering together to see how we can help each other."
"It's a hard time right now for me and my husband. We lost everything and now we have to live in this tiny trailer that we borrowed from a friend. It's all we can do for now," Armstrong said. "So much was lost, but life moves on. Although there's nothing like your own home."
While trying to make ends meet with the few resources they have, Armstrong admitted some days are harder than others. After the fire burned her home, she had to sell her livestock that survived the flames because she could no longer take care of them.
"My cat was still in the house when it went up in flames," Armstrong said. "When we came back all we found was nothing but a ball of flesh. I had him for 22 years and I don't even have a picture of him because they all burned in the fire."
Armstrong, the Almazans and the others whose homes were lost continue to try to take life one day at a time, hoping the rebuilding process gets easier in the coming days and weeks.
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