Families rush to get their loved ones to safety as Willow Fire burns homes in Yuba County

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YUBA COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Deputies evacuated thousands of residents in Yuba County Wednesday morning after the Willow Fire broke out near Collins Lake overnight.

Cindy Parker and her sister rushed to get their 84-year-old father out from his Dobbins home early Wednesday morning.

“We got a call about 2:30 in the morning and they said, ‘There’s a big fire going on,’” Parker told FOX40. “He’s not able to walk out on his own, so we had to hurry up get him to safety.”

The devastating flames ravaged through more than 1,300 acres by the afternoon. But firefighters made progress, establishing fire breaks to stop the forward motion.

The dying winds also helped to slow down the flames.

“What’s going to drive the fire now is the topography that’s around there and the very dry fuels,” said Cal Fire Division Chief Jim Mathias.

FOX40 saw hotspots with open flames along the roadways and many properties were decimated to the ground.

“So far, our early damage assessments are revealing 14 residences that were damaged or destroyed,” Mathias explained.

But fortunately, those with some defensible space appeared unscathed.

Fire crews continued to work hard establishing fire breaks as helicopters made several water drops from above.

John Kuntz has lived in Oregon House for 36 years and has seen many fires over the years.

“This isn’t that bad,” he said. “I mean, years past, it’s been a lot worse.“

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