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SONOMA COUNTY -- Firefighters are lighting back burns all along Bennett Valley Road in Santa Rosa to create a buffer between what the Southern LNU Complex Fire has already burned and what it's headed toward burning next.

This act will stop the fire's slow downhill creep toward homes so that the neighborhood on Ponderosa Road doesn't suffer the same fate as the neighborhood on Bennett Ridge Road.

"It came up over the hill and there wasn't much that could be done at that point with a limited amount of resources it was all about life safety and trying to get as many people out as possible," said Darrin DeCarli, Battalion Chief Bennett Valley Fire Protection District.

Decarli says a neighborhood of 70 or so homes was decimated overnight Monday -- that it happened so fast, firefighters were evacuating families as their homes were burning down.

"... Knocking on the door get 'um out, as they're loading them in the truck to get them off the hill they're were saying there were more people in the home upstairs who were still asleep so they had to double back," Decarli recounts.

The same firefighters working then have been defending the same neighborhoods for three days straight.

"It's been a rough go. its hard on everybody. we have guys who've lost homes themselves and they`re still here fighting the fire," Decarli said.

He also says damage assessment crews still haven't gone through all the rubble in the area to confirm that everyone made it out alive.

For now, they find comfort in the simple things like notes from homeowners saying:

We have evacuated, we have a pool, please save our home, stay safe.