Yuba County Couple Says Defensible Space Saved Their Home during Cascade Fire

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YUBA COUNTY -- When her neighbors on Douglas Way in Yuba County frantically left as the Cascade Fire prompted evacuations, Beverly Cameron-Fildes stayed home.

"I said, 'Oh no!' Then I looked out the bathroom window and all I could see was the flames rolling right towards us," she said. "I ultimately realized, he knew all the time, that we were just better sheltering in place here."

The reason for not evacuating, she says, was a summer's worth of yard work from by her husband.

"I do about 40 hours of weed eating every summer," Gary Fildes said.

They both believe the defensible space around their home is why the house survived.

Fildes says only four of the 13 homes on their stretch of road still stand.

"What happened this week is something that has  never been experienced before," Yuba County Sheriff Steven Durfor said Thursday.

In a media briefing, Yuba County officials said the number of homes affected by the fire reached the triple digit mark.

"The estimate so far is that 100 homes have either been damaged or destroyed by the fire," Jeremy Strang, with the Yuba County building department, said.

Cameron-Fildes says she knows defensible space doesn't guarantee a home's safety, but in her mind it gives homeowners a fighting chance.

"It may not, but the chances are a lot better if you've done that work," she said.

County officials lifted some mandatory evacuation orders Thursday, as the fire containment increased.