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Some Residents Defy Evacuation Orders to Return Home Early

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LAKE COUNTY--

Cal Fire crews made progress containing the nearly 70,000 acre Rocky Fire in Lake County Wednesday, but some residents defied mandatory evacuation orders and went back to their homes early.

"We were in tears out here doing everything we could to keep it. But it's hard. It's hard to save everything," Marla Antonio said.

Antonio and her husband Manuel told FOX40 they've been coming to and from their home on Morgan Valley Road since they were ordered to evacuate.

"We're feeding our animals," Marla said.

The Antonio's said a friend helped them create a containment line around their home with a bulldozer a few days ago, and believe those efforts saved their home.

"We had fire coming in every direction, behind the house, over here, over here, and then all of a sudden it was like boom," Marla said.

The Antonios have been living on their ranch for 30 years. Many of their neighbors, whose homes once stood a short distance behind theirs, are now burned to the ground.

According to numbers Cal Fire released Thursday morning, 43 homes had been destroyed by the Rocky Fire. Fifty-three outbuildings were also burned to the ground.

Erratic winds that plagued firefighters at the start of the Rocky Fire died down considerably Wednesday, allowing firefighters to make more progress.

Cal Fire is still urging people who have been ordered to evacuate their homes to remain out of the burn area and away from their properties until Cal Fire officially lifts their evacuation orders. They say the Rocky Fire still has the potential to create more fire activity.

"I think they had a heck of a job in front of them, because this was nasty," Marla said.