SHINGLE SPRINGS, Calif. (KTXL) — Hundreds of people are still unable to return to their homes as the Caldor Fire continues to burn in El Dorado County.
“Sure enough, as I started to go to bed, all the phones started ringing and get out immediately,” said evacuee Gloria Huck.
It’s an experience all too familiar for the thousands of people who rushed to evacuate as the Caldor Fire moved into Grizzly Flats.
“First, we spent the night in our vehicle, which was very uncomfortable. Then, we managed to get a room at the Motel 6,” Huck told FOX40.
But when a spot opened up at the Placerville KOA in Shingle Springs, Huck made arrangements to stay there.
She hasn’t been able to go home for weeks now.
“There wasn’t one person in here, I think, who wasn’t an evacuee,” she said.
The campground owners said at one point, they were serving about 250 evacuees from the Caldor Fire.
“At first, we had to cancel a whole bunch of reservations to make room for the evacuees so they could stay in their spaces,” said Placerville KOA owner Jay Simoneau.
But they didn’t stop there. The owners started working with community organizations to bring in free meals and collect donations for people affected by the fire.
“The community has really come together and dropped off various items that the evacuees needed,” Simoneau said. “So anytime an evacuee needed something, we made sure it was taken care of.”
“They’ve had it all and if they didn’t, you made a little list and they got it for you,” Huck said.
While some evacuees have been able to return home, others like Huck are still waiting.
“It’s day by day, hour by hour,” Huck said.
In the meantime, Huck said she’s thankful to have a safe place to stay and a supportive community through this time of uncertainty.
“We’re all members of our community as well and a lot of the locals stay at our park, so they’ve always been there for us and given us business,” Simoneau said. “So we want to make sure we’re there for them as well during these tough times.”
“If it wasn’t for the KOA, I don’t know where we would be — probably in our vehicle out on the street,” Huck said.
Placerville KOA has lowered its rates for Caldor Fire evacuees.
The family-owned campground has lost revenue during what would normally be their busiest time of the year. They say the best way the community can support them after evacuees are able to return home is to book a campsite during their slower, winter months.