SQUIRREL VALLEY, CA (FOX 11) - Starting noon Monday evacuation orders due to the Erskine Fire were lifted for people in Yankee Canyon and Mountain Mesa.
Squirrel Valley remained closed but some people came back a few days ago, very shaken.
"A home, that's what we're coming home to. But no one else is here...that's it. That's all i can say," said Jean Gutierrez.
Jean and Rick Gutierrez came back to find their Squirrel Valley home standing....
"Luck had nothing to do with it, it was a miracle," said Rick Gutierrez.
...but the Erskine fire reduced the six homes close to them to rubble and ashes.
"Everyone's gone. Everyone left everything they left their whole life for. They didn't have the chance to get their paperwork or clothes. They had to get out of here that fast. That's how fast that fire rolled down the hill," said Jean.
Over 200 homes and buildings were wiped out.
The Erskine fire is now 45 thousand acres - 40% contained.
Many people lucky enough to return to a home are still without water or power.
"Their wells are full of ash. And so they're saying don't even boil the water," said Whyatt Kolb.
Whyatt Kolb and his dad drove from Bakersfield. They loaded hundreds of cases of water and food into a truck, and went door to door to pass them out.
"People need help. They needed it so we say why not," said Kolb.
Two thousand firefighters are also hard at work.
Residents are grateful but say they've had to jump in to put out fires too.
"We still saw fires here and there and just grabbed shovels and started putting fires out. Didn't sleep all night," said Rick.
Even though Rick has his home, he carries the heavy weight of those around him who no longer do.
"It was just so beautiful. Now it's just moonscape," said Rick.
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