MARIPOSA, Calif. — Over one week after the destructive, 19,000-acre Oak Fire tore through scenic hills and landscapes in Mariposa County, crews are beginning to assess the damage.
For nearly 170 homeowners, picking up the pieces from destroyed homes and attempting to move on from the wildfire, California's second-largest so far in the year, has become a daunting and hard task even to understand.
"This is a really small, like 5,000-person, community," said Kevin Spach who evacuated from his Mariposa County home during the Oak Fire only to return days later to ashes. "So yeah, it's hard to comprehend."
The sight of blanketing black smoke and flames rushing uphill to Spach's home, dubbed "Yosemebear Mountain Farm", was a stark contrast to the picturesque scene on January 18, 2010, when a double rainbow painted the overcast skies above the lush, green forest land in the distance.
"I spent a lot of time around there, helping Bear out and just working with him on the land while he was still around," Spach said. "We moved up there early last year, spent a lot of time just trying to convert it and make it my home and develop a little bit of a relationship with that piece of land."
While memories of the video and its impacts on Spach's family are still standing, the home where it was recorded no longer is.
"I've been somewhat close to a few fires before and this was a different situation, I knew right off the bat," Spach said. "I was able to get out of there with my animals and a few of my most important possessions."
Spach and his wife say they found shelter with relatives in the area for now, but like many fellow neighbors, hope to return to the land.
The couple has created a GoFundMe page to begin efforts to rebuild. In just three days, nearly $54k has been raised giving Spach optimism that one day he might be able to walk outside and marvel at the sight of double rainbows once again.
"Everybody out here is struggling and if you have any resources to help us out, we would really love it," Spach said. "I think we're going to have to at least wait out the first winter just to let that happen, and then kind of reassess and have surveyors advise us. But I'm definitely optimistic, or at least I really would like to rebuild."
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