SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Ann and Doug Cowin live on Paradise Road near the Rey Fire origin.
The wildfire broke out August 2016 after a tree fell on top of power lines. Many people enjoying the campground and cabin owners were in the area. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies spoke to everyone asking them to evacuate. The Cowin's decided to stay.
“It shot up right this mountain up, burned the whole Sage Hill and kept coming this way. That’s when we got chairs out and really started watching. It looked pretty amazing because it was wind driven and the sparks were blowing ahead of the fire," said Ann Cowin.
They've been living in that cabin for decades and say they love the outdoors. However, they understand their decision to stay during the Rey Fire is not something everyone would agree to.
The Cowin's execute their elaborate plan whenever there is a wildfire in the area. They turn on their radio scanners, keep close watch on their wind socks and gages to determine the direction and potentially the fire path and have water ready nearby.
During the Rey Fire, Ann also looked at a eucalyptus tree grove from her backyard. She tells NewsChannel 3 that if that grove burned, she would've left. The wildfire did create damage in that area, but it did not spread close to her house.
She recommends everyone have a plan in place including gathering important family items and paperwork.