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Friday, the Black Forest fire has burned nearly 400 homes and killed two people, apparently as they tried to escape their home.
Officials say with the help of a little rain, the fire is now 30 percent contained although that’s of little comfort for many residents.
“Anytime it turns black you knew that it got another house,” former Maui resident, Kaira Haycock said.
Maui-born Kaira Haycock says her heart shatters every time she sees a plume of black smoke.
“You hate to see the black smoke it’s so awful to see that. It’s just heartbreaking,” Haycock said.
Haycock lives a mile away from the destruction and just steps away from the evacuation zone.
“I’m like 100 feet away from the mandatory evacuation zone that’s closest to us, it’s one street away from us,” Haycock said.
She says parts of her neighborhood is being guarded by the National Guard from looters. Many of her neighbors voluntarily evacuated on Wednesday but she and her family have decided to stand ground until they are told they must leave.
“The neighborhood sounds dead and then the planes just keep flying over. In fact, right now a helicopter is going over us — can hear that so loud,” Haycock said.
Earlier this week, Haycock’s neighborhood was overwhelmed with smoke and her home smelled like a campfire but she knows so far, they’ve been lucky.
“It’s just so sad, it’s so devastating these people – one day you have a house and the next day everything you know day is gone. It’s been so hot and so windy, windy like you can’t even imagine, like Hookipa wind,” Haycock said.
But the gusty winds have eased and for the first time since Tuesday, authorities are optimistic they can stop this freight train.
“All that changes as soon as the wind changes,” Haycock said.
Haycock says she and her family learned a valuable lesson during last june’s waldo canyon fire nearby which killed two people, and burned 347 homes.
“If nothing else we’ve learned the whole evacuation (process) exactly what we want to take and really how little we’re attached to,” Haycock said.
Still, they are prepared to leave on a moments notice and say they’re grateful for the work of the firefighters holding the line.
“They are working so hard it’s just unbelievable. They’re showing pictures on the news. They stand in the back of people’s houses and they’re just fighting the fires around the house and they’re doing everything the can to save houses,” Haycock said.