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Southern California Couple Reflects On Fleeing Their Home

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We are in Thousand Oaks, Calif., this morning. This is one of the communities in this state suffering through dangerous wildfires. They have been explosive and fast-moving. Johnny Fortier saw one of them coming. He lives in a mobile home park here in Southern California.

JOHNNY FORTIER: A very small fire grew to the entire top side of the mountains. All three peaks were on fire with the wind blowing the flames. I said an Our Father, tried to bless our homes and realized it's time to go.

GREENE: Johnny and his wife, Shandra, did evacuate. And yesterday, they returned. And they were picking through what was left.

J. FORTIER: Our friend here, Poogh, drove us up to let us see the remnants of what was our house, our home. My wife, Shandra, and I, our three children - you know, we've been here 12 1/2 years. What can I say? I loved this place a lot. I still do. But it looks like a war zone. We basically left with the clothes on our bodies, some pictures from the wall, some religious items, some crucifixes. I mean, we lost everything, not just our house but its entire contents. And it's all gone.

SHANDRA FORTIER: It hasn't even set in yet. But we really didn't find much. I'm happy to see that there are a lot of trees still standing. And there is actually a lot of greenery. And the horses below are OK. And it won't be too long. And we'll see this place looking beautiful again.

(SOUNDBITE OF PENSEES' "ECLIPSE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.