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Family Leaves California For Texas After Living Through Thomas And Caldor Fires

GRIZZLY FLATS (CBS13) — The decision to rebuild after a wildfire is deeply personal. The process can be long - and, if you have school-aged children, that decision is even harder because their community is gone.

"Everything is gone up there," said Carol Hill.

She and her husband have been living at a Folsom hotel since their house in Grizzly Flats burned to the ground.

"I haven't been up there. I don't want to go back there," Hill said.

In late August, we met them at an evacuation center. They were temporarily staying in an RV someone loaned them until they could get back on their feet.

"So far no luck," she said.

The path to a new home has been winding. The insurance company found an apartment for them, but it was too small.

"I've got a big dog and a little dog, and I have a son that lives with us," Hill said.

Insurance proceeds will help pay for a new home.

"But the market, as it is right now, makes it tight," she said.

Hill and her husband want to stay close to their children in El Dorado County.

But that's not the case for the Wilde family, who already moved to Texas.

"If you have the ability to leave and the desire to leave, leave. Our life is much better here," Joe Wilde said.

During the heat of the Caldor Fire, we caught up with Joe and his wife outside the Diamond Springs Fire Department as they were fleeing with everything they owned. They had two boys, five dogs, two buckets of fish and a bearded dragon in tow.

"Everything that's living is with us," Joe said at the time.

The Wilde family decided to cut their losses after surviving the Thomas Fire in Southern California, only to move up to Somerset and have the Caldor Fire take everything.

"That fire, while it took every possession from us, what it gave back is incredibly valuable," Joe said.

Video from the Washington Post and Storyful shows the damage done as his home burned to the ground.

"It's a deeply personal decision," Joe said.

They say it was time to make a move: their oldest son will start and finish high school there and dad just began a new job as a high school science teacher.

"It was the most difficult and easiest move in my life, all at once. It is super freeing in a very odd way," Joe said.

The move serving a higher purpose - and a point to pause.

"It's very easy to take a look at what is going wrong and the dark side. You can't do that, you have to find the good," Joe said.

Both families feel blessed they had insurance proceeds to move forward. The Hills tell us that paid off what was left of their mortgage and is paying for the cleanup of their home site, an estimated $17,000.

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