Kincade Fire evacuees gracious, joyful to finally return home
WINDSOR, Calif. - The bulk of the Kincade fire evacuees are now returning home.
Thursday evening, Sonoma County officials said there were just 3,400 evacuees remaining.
In Windsor's Foothill Estates, there's clear evidence that the flames of Kincade came knocking on the door, but firefighters didn't let them in.
In Veronica Johnson's front yard on Cayetano court there's a charred skeleton of a gazebo. In the backyard, which neighbors Foothill Regional Park there's a burned fence.
As Johnson assessed minor damage this afternoon, she's grateful firefighters saved her beloved home.
"Seeing how close it came, it's amazing that they were able to stop it. It's just amazing," said Johnson.
The power of that windy night of the fire is evident.
Some residents lost fences. In some cases the weather is to blame, in others it's because firefighters needed access to yards.
Mario Spadoni, returning home this afternoon, also found some damaged fencing, but says his family is just grateful to have a home to return to.
"The house smells a little smokey, but it's good being home seeing all the neighbors and everything. We're happy. We're happy we still have a house," said Spadoni.
Many residents returning to homes near the fireline are finding their homes have smoke damage that will need to be cleaned up.
"We have over 150 request for smoke estimates on our first day back in our shop. And they keep coming in," said Patrick Whitted of Bravo Restoration Company.
Rolling through the neighborhood Thursday afternoon, a firefighting team from Portland, Oregon.
It took a monumental effort to tame the Kincade fire from burning down this neighborhood and others on those wildly windy nights.
And some credit the massive evacuation for allowing firefighters to get the job done.
"I think that's the main reason why our neighborhood was actually saved [is] because firefighters were able to work the miracles that they did, it's because they didn't have to worry about civilians in their homes trying to get out amid the fire," said Ali Batchelder.
"They did an awesome job. Those firefighters need to be proud of themselves," said Cameron Batchelder.
Gratitude was a sentiment being expressed throughout parts of Windsor on Halloween day, where many we're thankful their homes weren't gobbled up by the wildfire called Kincade.
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