LOMPOC VALLEY, Calif. - People who evacuated the Rucker Fire burn area in the Mission Hills neighborhood of the Lompoc Valley spent Saturday cleaning up and giving thanks to the firefighters that saved their homes.
The cause of what were initially several fires remains under investigation as rumors swirl about how the fires started sending flames across the street of many homes in the area.
As daybreak rose over the 450 acre Rucker Fire burn area Saturday morning, fire crews could be seen hosing down hot spots and building containment line.
Those who came so close to losing everything know they dodged a huge bullet thanks to a quick response by firefighters on the ground and in the air.
"Outstanding, these guys did a great job", said resident Keith Blades, "I mean they were all over it, the air tankers, the ground support, the crews did a great job."
"It was right there", said neighbor Lori Krawczyk who evacuated her home.
"I was sure that everything would be burned", added homeowner Staci Buranen who also evacuated, "I was so sure."
What began as several, smaller fires Friday afternoon quickly became a fast-moving, major wildfire on different flanks around the Mission Hills neighborhood.
"You know, its too coincidental that four fires started at one time", Krawczyk said.
"I heard it was more than that", Buranen said, "we felt surrounded, there was one over there, one over there and one over there."
It will be awhile before the pinkish-orange fire retardant that was dumped on their homes, vehicles and properties fades away.
As investigators work to determine exactly what caused the fires, many in the Mission Hills neighborhood hope its accidental and not intentional.
"I've just heard a lot of rumors, someone dragging a chain with a trailer, somebody lighting it, I don't know what's going on", said homeowner Rod Goldsberry who also evacuated, "I hope its just an accident by someone with a trailer, you know, I hope it wasn't on purpose."