CHESTER (CBS13) — Thousands of people have now been evacuated as the Dixie Fire continues to burn in multiple Northern California counties.
The historic gold rush town of Greenville in Plumas County burned to the ground this week and the town of Chester along Lake Almanor was one of several areas completely evacuated as crews moved in to mitigate the spread of the wildland blaze.
"I just can't see not being here," said Dawn Rocha, who lives in Chester.
The town of 2,000 was turned ghost as fire inched closer to its main street.
Rocha and her family evacuated immediately. We met the mom of three as she was packing up last-minute belongings.
"Frozen food, pictures and paperwork. Anything we might have forgot," she said.
Rocha said her three children grew up in their Chester home.
"We'll be ok. They'll get new toys but it's just the memories," she said.
Rocha's favorite memory? Her son's birthday.
"The first day we moved in, it was actually my son's fifth birthday and we had a big old birthday party the day we got to move in," she said. "I can't even—this is horrible for everybody."
California's current biggest wildfire has scorched more than 360,000 acres as of Thursday night. Across the national forest from Chester sits the Gold Rush Town of Greenville, which is now gone.
Fire crews are working hard to get the Dixie Fire under control but it's not easy. High winds and dry fuels currently make this fire nearly impossible to stop.
"We can't put this fire out right now with the weather conditions," said Mike Watner, division supervisor with the Chico Fire Department.
Watner said the focus now is defending homes while hoping the worst fire of his career comes to an end soon.
"I've been fighting fire for 25 years and this is the most extreme fire behavior I've ever been a part of," he said.
Agencies on the scene are warning neighbors to immediately evacuate if told to do so. Whether it's mandatory or a warning, you need to do so quickly and safely.
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