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Central Coast woman shares story of evacuation from Dixie Fire

Dixie Fire, California
Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 29, 2021

As the Dixie Fire continues to burn, people are evacuating and some are returning home to the Central Coast.

The Dixie Fire forced Dee Waters and her husband to evacuate their second home in Northern California. They are now back in Paso Robles and hoping to return north in the next few days.

Just days ago, Dee Waters was in her Greenville kitchen when she says she saw flames and smoke in the distance. Moments later, she received a mandatory evacuation notification.

"I stopped there for a minute and I got a huge lump in my throat. I literally crumpled. I fell down into the kitchen on my knees and crumpled," she said.

Dee and Gregg Waters decided to evacuate and head to their home in Paso Robles.

"I remember going down the hill and looking back at the house and thinking, am I going to see this house again?" Waters said.

She and ten other people drove down the mountain on dirt roads in the dark.

"What guided us was the moon. It was full, it was beautiful. I kept thinking, this isn't happening. This just isn't happening. I could see my husband in front and... I was... I was scared," Waters said.

On Thursday, a Five Cities Fire Authority crew that’s been at the Dixie Fire for about 14 days packed up as a replacement crew headed over.

"Our fire engine, Brush 6661, is committed to a strike team on the Dixie Fire. That doesn't change. The bodies inside that engine are changing, so the fire engine is going to stay attached to that incident with a fresh crew," explained Fire Chief Steve Lieberman, Five Cities Fire Authority.

Waters says she is thankful for the fire crews and their efforts. She and her husband will have to wait until the mandatory evacuation is lifted to go back to their home in Greenville. She’s told that so far, their home has not been damaged by the fire.

They’re thankful to have made it out.

"The look on his face and the tears in his eyes when we finally got down and we made it and we got out and he's grabbing me and saying, 'we did it, we did it!' Everyone was so happy we got out," Waters said.

According to CAL FIRE, the Dixie Fire is only 23 percent contained and has been active for 15 days. The fire has burned 221,504 acres in Butte and Plumas counties.