Couple Make Surprise Discovery In The Ashes Of Their Burned House

Don and Julie Myers were devastated when they learned that their home was among those destroyed in a California wildfire, but there was a silver lining.

ABC News affiliate KEYT reported that the couple, upon returning to the scene on Wednesday, dug through the rubble and ashes to recover whatever personal items they could. Don was amazed to find his wife’s wedding ring. He showed it to Julie, then knelt and repeated his original marriage proposal.

There was not much else left. The couple lost their home to the Thomas Fire, one of four large blazes raging across southern California. At last report, the fire had blackened more than 90,000 acres and destroyed at least 150 buildings in Ventura County. Firefighters, struggling to control the blazes, reported late Wednesday that the Thomas Fire was only 5 percent contained. The region is under red-flag warnings through Saturday.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a combination of fierce Santa Ana winds and low humidity levels is responsible for the rapidly spreading fires. The conditions are “a recipe for explosive fire growth,” California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Tim Chavez told reporters on Wednesday. He added: “We stand a good chance of a challenging night and day tomorrow. It’s going to be a difficult night and day.”

Firefighters were concentrating on preventing the Thomas Fire from entering the Ojai Valley. The blaze had already caused extensive damage in the communities of Ventura and Santa Paula. Though the hot, strong winds diminished significantly on Wednesday, they increased the following day.

“We are in the beginning of a protracted wind event,” state fire chief Ken Pimlott said. “There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds. At the end of the day, we need everyone in the public to listen and pay attention. This is not ‘watch the news and go about your day.’ This is pay attention minute-by-minute … keep your head on a swivel.”

The Times reported that many people heard the warning and took some sort of action to protect their properties. One of them, Kristy Cantrall, put a garden hose on the roof of her townhome in Santa Paula that she could use if flames approached. She waited anxiously as the Thomas Fire advanced to within one-half mile of her Vela Court neighborhood. A number of other area residents also got hoses ready to spray their houses with water, if necessary.

Meanwhile, helicopters with large buckets were dropping fire-retardant chemicals on burning eucalyptus trees a short distance north of Vela Court. Cantrall’s son Colin arrived Tuesday night from his home in Simi Valley to do whatever he could to help his mother. “Once we saw ‘copters come down, we knew we had to water,” he said.

Groups like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross have been helping those affected by the fires, which were threatening to destroy an additional 12,000 homes. Authorities had evacuated more than 50,000 residents. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency. About 1,100 firefighting personnel were assigned to the area.

Source: Yahoo, LA Times
Photo: KEYT

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