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Law enforcement urges residents when the evacuation orders happen

French Fire Aug. 20 2021
Posted at 9:54 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 02:59:56-04

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KERO) — As evacuation orders continue for the French Fire some residents still said they don’t want to leave their homes.

“We want to save our homes and there are people who don’t have insurance and so that’s a problem, insurance is kind of high and I understand that,” said Mark Leon a local resident.

Leone said local residents are staying to fight the fires themselves since they don’t have fire insurance, mostly because it’s either very expensive, or they can’t get it in these fire-prone communities.

“I think that as far as insurance companies are concerned this is high risk and it’s so dry that it’s not in their best insurance to insure people or they’ll raise your premiums. Just like if you get in too many car wrecks they’ll raise your premiums so I think that’s the similar situation with homeowners and insurance,” said Leone.

Ex firefighter Eric Swiggum originally planned to save his home but couldn’t when he lost power.

“My son and I evacuated last night because the power went out and when the power went out the water well went out so we couldn’t defend ourselves, there was no water,” said Swiggum.

Captain Sean Collins with Kern County Fire said while he understands people want to protect their homes it’s never a good idea.

“We fully understand that it’s your home and you want to protect it but there will come a point as there has been on this fire and others that I’ve been on when there’s a realization that my house is no longer worth saving because my guard and house will not do it,” said Collins.

Collins added that while some may think they can beat the fire, it’s not safe to try.

“But when the wind is behind it and its terrain drove and everything is in alignment, the wind the fuels, you’re never going to outrun a fire, particularly when it's being pushed at 30 – 40 miles an hour,” said Collins.

Collins also added that law enforcement does not take these decisions lightly. So, when you get the warning, be ready and when you get the order, leave.