TULARE COUNTY (KFSN) --Some evacuation orders have been lifted or downgraded Monday for Tulare County residents who live near the Cedar Fire. Many others, however, are still waiting to go home.
The fire has burned more than 29,000 acres and is now 45 percent contained and one man whose lived with his wife in Posey for 17 years said he's never been through something like this, and after 10 days, he got to go home.
"It's been a week and a half since Curt Barnett has been home. Now that's he's back, he's on a mission of making sure all his animals have been accounted for.
"Hi, there," he exclaimed as he arrived home. "I know, we've been gone for a while haven't we?"
He wasn't sure if his birds would be alive but they were.
"All in all how you feeling?" an Action News reporter asked Barnett.
"Better than I could have hoped for, better than we could have hoped for," he replied.
Barnett and his wife live in Posey where evacuation orders dropped from mandatory to voluntary Monday. Residents of Idlewild, Manter Meadow, Pine Mountain Ranch and Rainbow Ranch can also go home. Meanwhile, areas such as Panorama Heights, Sugar Loaf and Spear Creek, where six cabins were destroyed by the fire, are still evacuated.
We're hoping that later this week, we'll be able to have the area cleared out," Annaleasa Winter with Cal Fire said. "All the equipment and hoses and all of the dead trees that are standing that pose a risk to those people, cleared out, cleaned up, and they'll be able to go home this week."
Winter said fire activity has been mild the past few days due to lighter fuels and increased humidity levels at night. But, still, this fire is far from over.
"But there are still several miles to our fire line very steep slopes with heavy fuels that are going to need to burn," she explained. "So, while people are back home here, and comfortable and resting, we've still got a lot of activity going on and a lot of firefighters in the area for several weeks to come."
Barnett wasn't expecting to be able to come back home on Monday. So, he called his wife and told her he'd go back to Bakersfield to pick her up and it's better than what they could have hoped for. And hopefully soon, their neighbors who are still evacuated will be able to say the same.