When county sheriff's deputies drove through his California neighborhood at 2 a.m. barking evacuation orders through loudspeakers, the 57-year-old Caltrans land surveyor stayed to save his barn-red A-frame where he and his wife have lived for 18 years.
Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, July 10, 2008
(07-10) 00:12 PDT Paradise, Butte County --
Tamara Roberts sent an e-mail to a relative on Monday, assuring her that this mountain community of 26,000 people along the Feather River had survived its latest brush with wildfire.
"We're safe," Roberts wrote.
But in the middle of the night, winds shifted, and the blaze exploded anew. Flames jumped containment lines, and on Tuesday morning, Roberts fled from her home.
The Butte Lightning Complex Fire, which had burned only two homes since it was sparked by lightning June 21, destroyed 48 more that day.
By Wednesday, 10,000 people had been evacuated, including a third of the town of Paradise and its only hospital, and the blaze threatened 3,800 homes. Firefighters were trying to keep flames from leaping west over the Feather River and into a town that lost 74 homes to a wildfire last month.
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