Safety

Some Santa Margarita residents chose to stay home despite evacuation orders

Hill Fire causes evacuations but-...

SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. - Flames from the Hill Fire came dangerously close to many homes in Santa Margarita. Despite the threat, some decided not to evacuate to be close to their homes. 

It’s a close call for Randy Milne and his family. Flames scorched the hills all around his home as the Hill Fire engulfed the surrounding area.

"All the scrub, the brush, and everything back there was fully involved,” he says.

He's been living in the area for about 12 years. His house is still standing. He says once he saw how close the flames were coming to his neighbor’s home he decided to pack up his family. He stayed behind with his son.

"Just an ember started over here but, I always mow this so it was nice and slow,” he says as he described the area near his home.

"I waved him down [the helicopter] and he put the whole thing down in one shot and then came back for another shot,” he says.

It was his quick thinking combined with the endless dedication of firefighters that he credits for helping to save the home that has been in his family for so many years.

"It means a lot to me and my wife, my brother in law and his wife, my mother in law,” he says.

Milne says this was the very home where his wife grew up and knowing it’s still here is a big sigh of relief. "They [the firefighters] were all here last night hats off to them,” he says. 

Firefighters remained in the area to put out hot spots. Their goal is to fully contain the fire.

"An adrenaline rush but, at the same time always thinking safety I have my limits of when I’ll bail,” he says.

For Milne, that means if his home were to burn down that would be his cue to go. He says throughout all of this, the Santa Margarita community has stuck together.

"We all look out for each other we have been going back and forth across the street,” he says. 

CAL FIRE says not evacuating your home can at times pose a threat to your own safety.

They say there are still a number of evacuations in place and road closures.


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