1 Year Later: Big Creek resident grateful as town heals after Creek Fire

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A year after the Creek Fire burned down dozens of homes in the small town of Big Creek, things are starting to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

RELATED: 1 Year Later: Cressman's General Store coming back to life after Creek Fire

"As much as they can," said Nettie Carroll, a science teacher at the local school who also works at Big Creek General Store. "And you know, everything's new. You look at the trees and the plants, you know, just those little bits of green and it's like look, there's hope."

Carroll was evacuated as the fire spread from its point of origin near Camp Sierra. It would eventually burn down dozens of homes, including Carroll's, but that became the least of her concerns.

RELATED: 1 Year Later: Woman who lost cabin dedicated to son in Creek Fire aims to rebuild

"My husband... he stayed behind, and he wanted to try to save the house," she recounted. "I had spoken to my husband, he told me the house was gone. And then I didn't hear from him for a long time. It was sad to lose the house, but at this point, it really didn't mean anything compared to: was my husband okay?"

As she was making her way past Shaver Lake and towards the Valley floor, Carroll received a call. It was her husband.

"When I saw that he was calling me and I saw his name on my phone, I was utterly relieved. So in the midst of all this burning and loss, there's this huge relief that everybody's okay."

RELATED: 1 Year Later: Saving Camp Sierra during the Creek Fire

That's the mindset Carroll has taken a year after the Creek Fire burned through her mountain community: instead of mourning what was lost, she's grateful that every life was saved.

"There's hope here. Sure, it's been a year, it does not feel like it's been a year," she explained. "Moment by moment, I'm just going to enjoy life and just like take it all in. All we can do is take it day to day, one day at a time."

VIDEO: Mountain Strong: Surviving the Creek Fire
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The new documentary "Mountain Strong: Surviving the Creek Fire" is a comprehensive look at one of the state's most significant natural disasters and how a community is coming together to build from the ashes.

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