(KTXL) — The Dixie Fire started in a remote part of Plumas County and has relentlessly marched through homes in its path, including one belonging to a firefighter.
Bureau of Land Management helicopter attack firefighter Michael Hambrick was at his home for 30 minutes before he had to leave.
“I saw about a 40-foot flame wall coming,” Hambrick said. “I had sprinklers running, I had water running and it got to the deck. My windows, the backsliders started to shatter and it was time to go.”
Hambrick and other firefighters went back to a staging area. He returned to the neighborhood a few hours later — not to survey what was left of his home — to save his neighbors’ homes, which were in jeopardy.
“We tried saving others. They were partially involved and we tried to put them out,” Hambrick said.
His actions were not a surprise to Pearly Dove Leathers, his longtime girlfriend.
“He’s going to be the first one in and the last one out. He will give whatever he can to save and protect homes. He always has,” Leathers said.
Some appreciation was shown by contributions to a GoFundMe page.
“I didn’t think I’d ever be on this end. I don’t even know these people and they’re doing this for me,” Hambrick said.
The day after he lost his home he raised his American flag on the only structure left standing.
“That was my house; that was my property. And it made me feel better, so that’s what I wanted to do,” Hambrick said.
“The only thing that survived was our flagpole and that just goes to show that we are resilient and we will come through this stronger,” Leathers said.
Hambrick took a day off but requested to be put back on the Dixie Fire.