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Man waves down helicopter to douse Hill Fire closing in on his h - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Man waves down helicopter to douse Hill Fire closing in on his home

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Santa Margarita residents are trying to get back to normal after the Hill Fire swept past their homes.

CAL FIRE says more than 1,500 acres have burned and they have the fire about 75-percent contained.

Several residents still have fire trucks, hoses and firefighters in their backyards knocking down trees and mopping up hot spots.

"Ash everywhere. My son's car is covered with fire retardant," said Randy Milne, who has a lot of cleaning up to do after the fire came within feet of his family's home.

"An ember came over the hillside and just started spreading out," Milne said. He took his wife and daughter to safety but stayed behind with his son. When the blaze got too close for comfort, he took action.

"As it was coming down, I was shoveling and a helicopter was flying over and I happened to wave at him and he happened to see me," Milne said.

Milne's signal to the pilot apparently worked.

"He hit the whole thing and put most of it out, took it out in one shot and then he came around in a second shot," Milne says.

Everything is covered in ash and red fire retardant but the important part is his property is all in one piece. Others living in the area weren't so lucky. At least three homes have been destroyed.

"When I saw this, I went, 'Wow. This is almost total devastation,'" says Richard Leon, whose home was saved. He says his best friend and neighbor's house was burned to the ground.

"And their pets. I feel really terrible about that," Leon said.

Work isn't over for fire crews.

"It's been just a constant circle of fire trucks," Leon said.

Crews remain in the fire area, mopping up hot spots and cutting lines to ensure the flames don't spark back up again. The fire area is still closed to people who don't live there.

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