Residents allowed back after Four Lanes fire

August 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
There is some welcome news for residents living near Auberry where a fire burned more than 130 acres - they can now go back home.

People who live on Beal Fire Road in Auberry are now being allowed back into their homes after the so-called Lanes Fire blazed through the area.

That mandatory evacuation was lifted at 2 p.m. Sunday after the more than 130 acre fire tore through the brush along the Four Lanes at Highway 168.

Firefighters say the fire was 80% percent contained by Sunday evening and there isn't a threat to people who live in the area.

Action News talked to one anxious family who was thrilled to go home. Fire tearing through the hills is an image Tammy Lehman and her family will never forget.

"I was very scared," Lehman said.

Tammy and her two young children weren't at home when the flames started at about 12:30 Saturday afternoon.

Fire crews allowed the Lehmans back home only to get their dog and a grab few clothes before they were asked to evacuate the area.

"When we grabbed the clothes, all our clothes smelled of fire," Lehman said.

"I was scared because my dog was up there," Devlin Lehman said.

Firefighters say the Lanes Fire started after someone threw a cigarette butt into the brush along the Four Lanes at Highway 168. Investigators say that person could face misdemeanor charges and have to pay for the entire cost of putting out the blaze.

"Especially throwing cigarette butts out, up in the mountain areas where everything is really dry it puts a lot of people in danger," Adan Orozco said.

At it's peak the fire threatened about 200 homes. Crews say a mix of winds, triple digit temperatures and dry grass fueled the flames.

"It's still hot even though the humidity came up a little bit but the fields are still really dry and we can't just let our guard down because there's always a fire danger," Orozco said.

Although those who live in the area are still anxious, they're grateful to go home.

"Our biggest concern is if we have a lot of smoke damage but we're really thankful," Tammy Lehman said.

About 500 firefighters were called in from as far away as Mendocino County to fight the fire. Officials say 8 firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries.


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