Fast-moving wildfires in West proving unpredictable

Nearly 70 large wildfires are burning in the West. Two dozen fires in Washington and Oregon have burned more than a million acres. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed and thousands more are still threatened.

As fire crews continue to battle the massive Okanogan complex fire, residents like Jenna Applegate are slowly returning to what's left.

She was asked what she thought would be there when she came back: "Nothing," she said. "We thought the house was gone."

Flames did extensive damage, destroying a workshop and several vehicles. The fire burned right up to the family home -- and just stopped.

Authorities: “No idea” how many homes destroyed in Western wildfire chaos

"I just couldn't believe the house was still there," said Applegate. "We figured somebody was up there watching."

Daryl and Rebekah Pfitzer weren't so fortunate. Their house is gone, their resolve is not.

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Firefighters are racing to prevent wildfires like the Okanogan complex fire from spreading farther and destroying more property. CBS News

"It's just a home, we have everything important, and it's just a home," said Rebekah.

"We got out everybody that was important to us and now we just start and rebuild," said Daryl.

Firefighters are struggling to protect other communities with resources stretched to the breaking point.

On Sunday, dozens of volunteers learned how to deploy fire shelters in an emergency, part of an unprecedented effort to get as many civilians as possible ready for fire duty.

Thousands of firefighters struggle against wildfires

"It's the first time in the history of Washington that they asked for help and that's what we saw it as a big deal," said Brenton Pickering, who drove two hours to get to the site and plans to stay as long as it takes.

"If it was my community, if houses were burning," he said. "I would want people from all over the place to come and help too. We are just trying to pay it forward and do the right thing."

The path these fires take is just so random. One home was untouched and just a few feet away nothing is salvageable from what used to be a two story house. To make matters worse, the wind is expected to pick up again Monday, making it hard to predict what will burn next.