El Portal Fire leaves behind a path of destruction

The flames burned down two homes in Foresta, and charred nearly 4,700 acres in Yosemite and the Stanislaus National Forest.
EL PORTAL, Calif. (KFSN) -- A pile of charred rubble is all that's left of two homes that shared one property in Foresta. It's a somber sight for others in this small, private community on the edge of Yosemite.

"It's horrible. I know what they're going through. We lost our home in the last fire, and it's a horrible thing to lose everything you have and feel really sad for them," said Bill Frates, Foresta homeowner.

Bill and Jennifer Frates rebuilt their vacation home after the A-Rock Fire in 1990. They were staying at that home last Saturday when flames once again rushed toward the cabin, giving them just minutes to pack up and leave. "It was frightening. It was the scariest thing I've ever been through in my life. The wall of flames was coming, and we were still trying to get out of here and we had our kids here so it was extremely frightening," said Jennifer Frates.

The Frates family went back to the Bay Area until the evacuation orders for Foresta were lifted on Friday.

Many homeowners here are now seeing the aftermath for the first time. "We really just drove up, so we're taking a look at what happened, and we're just very fortunate that as close as it came that our house was saved," said Diana Kratt, Foresta homeowner

All areas of the park that were affected by the fire are now open, but rangers are still asking hikers to be aware. "Any time a burned area, you've got hazards, you've got dead or downed trees, still some hot spots, you've got things like stumps, pieces of wood will stay warm for weeks if not months," said Scott Gediman, Yosemite spokesperson.

Many of the firefighters who spent days on the front lines here are now being released. But most won't be heading home because they're needed to help with other fires still burning in Northern California.

The El Portal Fire has burned 4,689 acres. As of Monday night, the fire was 100 percent contained.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.