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Apple Hill Reopens As Caldor Fire Evacuees Slowly Return Home

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — Apple Hill will fully open Labor Day weekend to tourists and locals looking for some fun without smoke.

Every year during the fall, people pick apples from Apple Hill orchards, but this year is not like the rest. With fires burning nearby, locals who were evacuated for weeks are on the fence about returning to business as usual.

"The fact that people haven't been able to completely come home—it just seems like It's a little too soon," said Cindy Kellogg, who was evacuated from Pollock Pines.

Kellogg says she's not quite ready for tourists to turn her town upside down. Residents were allowed to repopulate the area this week.

"It's not going to be as many people as you think," said Chris Delfino, president of the Apple Hills Growers Association. "It's not going to cause jams for the people going back home."

Delfino said he's thinking about evacuees and local farmers who have been hit hard by wildfires, as well.

"As a farmer, we deal with freezes in the winter, with hail in June and fires in fall," he said. "Thousands of jobs this farm alone brings in and that really helps keep a lot of them afloat during this hard time."

Delfino says Northern California needs tourism.

"We have to have Labor Day forward to Christmas," he said. "Without it, we don't exist and then these farms don't make it."

Aryanna Anton was displaced by the Caldor Fire for two weeks.

"It's definitely good to be able to breathe again," she said.

Anton is excited to hit Apple Hill and put the fire in the past.

"Everybody can go and have fun and not think about it," she said.

Apple Hill will be fully open this Labor Day. None of its farms are in evacuation warning zones.

Delfino said they do plan on delivering apples and apple products to food banks to help evacuees in need.

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