Detwiler Fire continues rampage through Mariposa County

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On Highway 140 in Mariposa County, chimneys are all that are left of some structures. (KFSN)

In the middle of fire ravaged Cathey's Valley Kim Newby is trying to provide comfort to a town that feels empty and foreign.

"Everyone around here is out of power, the only reason we are open is because we have a generator."

The few holdouts who have not yet left the evacuation zone have been coming here for the hot food, cold drinks, and warm smiles-- sharing stories about close calls.

"The fire came to within a mile of our ranch and then the winds shifted and took it up the mountain to Mariposa, which is not a good thing but it did save our ranch," said Casey Aitchison, neighbor.

Steve and Casey Aitchison own the state's largest Alpaca farm-- staying behind to take care of their animals. Their ranch was spared but just up Highway 140, chimneys are all that is left.

"My friend, her house is still standing, but her trailer, all her outbuildings gone, I know another person, his whole house gone," said Newby.

On day four the flames are still as unpredictable as Day one, and Cathey's Valley is only one side of this multi-front war.

"We were so desperate for information because nobody knows yet just how bad the damage is farther up 140," said Casey.

The fire's endless appetite is why deputies evacuated Cathey's Valley and forced all businesses to close Tuesday. But Newby said on Wednesday, she managed to convince first responders to let them reopen.

"They need a place to be able to go to eat or have something cold to drink or just a friendly face."

Newby is keeping busy to keep her mind off of so much loss.

Firefighters seemed to get a better grasp of the flames Wednesday-- 3,000 are currently fighting on the front lines and more are still coming.

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mariposamariposa countyevacuationwildfireMariposa
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