FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The final evacuation orders have been lifted for residents driven from their homes by the Mission Fire.
People living in the Cascadel Woods and surrounding areas were allowed to start returning home on Friday.
A two story, 2,300 square foot home is now nothing more than a six-inch pile of ash. Aside from a charred putter found in the rumble, Rick Hamilton and his wife lost everything in the Mission Fire that started Sunday afternoon.
"I look at it, and I think about the people in Texas and now Florida that will have two feet of water in their house," Hamilton said.
"Not to be morbid, but basically this is kind of a blessing in disguise. The whole thing is gone. We don't really have any decisions to make."
The Hamilton's were not home when the fire sparked, so they never had time to retrieve their valuables or pets.
"My wife found her cat," Rick said. "Brought her back to tears. I'm digging through, looking for my gun collection and coins. It's hard, but everybody been so helpful. We see a path forward at this point."
While the Hamilton's home was a total loss. Their neighbor's home just a few feet away is still standing. The blaze charred much of the property's landscape but left the structure untouched.
"The first thought is just feeling blessed," neighbor Tim Madden said. "So happy, it could've been worse. We had neighbors that lost everything, and it doesn't feel like we've lost anything other than some foliage which can be replaced."
The evacuation orders have been lifted for residents driven from their homes. Families living in the Cascadel Woods and surrounding areas were allowed back for the first time Friday just as crews were making major progress on the fire that had been at 25 percent containment before Friday.
"We've actually bumped up and doubled that, we're at 50 percent containment," Capt. Dan Olson with Cal Fire said. "The acreage stays the same at 1,035 acres. We also increased the personnel. We're up over 1,700 personnel assigned to the incident."
Mandatory evacuations lifted for the Mission Fire
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