BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Thousands have been forced to evacuate as wildfires continue to rage across parts of northern California. One of those evacuees is George County native Jeff Cooley.
Cooley now lives in Vacaville, Cali. and was evacuated from his home on Tuesday night. He returned home Wednesday to water down the structure in an effort to protect it against the flames.
“If my house caught on fire, I don’t know if we had someone who would respond right now,” he told WLOX.
The South Mississippi native told WLOX firefighting resources in California are scarce right now.
“California is out of resources to be able to fight the fires. They’re just making decisions on whether your house burns or not. That’s why I am kind of staying around to see exactly what may happen tonight.”
There are 23 major blazes threatening the state’s resources.
Many Vacaville residents were issued evacuation orders on Tuesday, a process Cooley said is much different than hurricane evacuations here on the Gulf Coast.
“I’m originally from George County down there and went through all the hurricanes, moved back, went through Katrina, Ivan and all those hurricanes back there,” he said. “But, for a wildfire, it’s one of those where you don’t have time to prepare. Sometimes you’ve got minutes just to get what you think is valuable to you and that’s what we did last night. We just jumped in, got what we thought was valuable, and got out of here.”
Unlike others in Vacaville, Cooley’s home was spared on Tuesday night. However, the threat still looms as the fires rage on.
“You want to stay positive for your family, you know, and everything like that but the reality of it is is that we’re in a fire danger zone and there’s a major fire just basically surrounding our city right now and it’s burning houses down,“ Cooley said. “Will we be the next one? We don’t know.”
At least 124,100 acres – nearly 200 square miles – have burned since the fires began early Monday morning.