GREENVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — With the Dixie Fire looming near the town of Greenville, Ken Donnell and his neighbors did what they could before the flames arrived.
“This fire was acting like a pack of predators that was circling us, looking for a moment to strike,” Donnell said.
For Donnell, his weapon was information. He started a texting tree about the latest information from his personal perspective.
“First to friends and family and then to refugees and evacuees,” Donnell said.
Eventually, almost 100 Greenville residents were getting his updates. In fact, they became so instrumental in providing real-time information that he was noticed by plumasnews.com.
“And I even have an official press pass,” Donnell said.
Wednesday, he left town to grab that press pass, but he would never make it back to his home.
“As it turned out, that wasn’t possible. We were hit by a tsunami of fire. It just swept over the town,” Donnell said.
Without entering his town of more than two decades, Donnell says he is certain his home and local business are gone.
“I would say at least 90% of Greenville has burned, and I’d say it’s likely that we are going to get closer to 100%,” Donnell said.
Because Donnell left to pick up that press credential, which would have helped him inform his neighbors with even better access, he never got the chance to grab his most valued items. But leaving when he did, Donnell believes it was about more than just reporting the news.
“This was obviously and clearly the work of a high power, and I find a lot of peace just knowing I did everything I could,” Donnell said.