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Caldor Fire Evacuees Return Home Amid Red Flag Warning Concerns

POLLOCK PINES (CBS13) — More El Dorado County residents have returned home weeks after being evacuated due to the Caldor Fire.

The most recent orders lifted include all areas east of Sly Park from Park Creek to the Mormon Emigrant Trail. But as people settle back in, the overnight storms did bring some mixed emotions—relief for rain but worry for dry lightning.

Chuck Stewart happily walked his property once again after days of evacuation. The day the order came down, he said he was fresh out of surgery.

"We weren't even able to come back home," Stewart said.

He's thankful, though, that he keeps his home risk for fire low despite the number of trees on his property. The Caldor Fire burned not far from him but didn't reach his neighborhood. He knows others weren't so lucky.

"It's just devastating—financially and emotional in a big, big way," Stewart said.

Others, like Scott Caesar, also felt relief upon coming home.

"It feels great to be home," Caesar said.

He had been living in a camper for nearly three weeks and was excited to get rain - until he realized what else that could mean.

"I was just like oh my gosh, I hope it doesn't start anything else new, you know?" he said.

That concern was echoed by firefighters, like Jonathan Pierce - especially as the west side of Tahoe saw some lightning strikes.

"It can be nerve-racking," Pierce said.

Lightning lit up the region overnight, and struck many areas near the Caldor Fire, and had to divert crews away to the smaller flames. One was close by in El Dorado Hills and was put on quickly.

"Of course we want them on the fire,- but with incidents like that it's easy to divert them real quick and get them mopped up," said Pierce.

With 4,000 people battling the flames, he said it makes things easier even as the changing weather patterns continue to be a challenge.

"Everybody's all hands on deck and wants to see people get home safely," Pierce said.

People, like Caesar and Stewart, who are both grateful to still have a roof over their heads.

"To have a home that's here, you know, just so thankful for that," said Caesar.

Stewart said the firefighting efforts are incredibly appreciated, "Every day they're going up and down - and nobody can thank them enough. Nobody can thank them enough."

As for the red flag warning, the California Office of Emergency Services said they have a crew pre-positioned centrally in Sacramento just in case any new fires spark up.

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