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Residents Learn The Fate Of Their Homes Following The Detwiler Fire

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Jeffrey Hess/KVPR
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Linda Scoggin looks at her burned out shed
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Credit Jeffrey Hess/KVPR
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UPDATE: Evacuation orders remain in place for residents on Greeley Hill Road and Dogtown Road near Coulterville.

Original post:
Residents of Mariposa County are beginning to return home as the Detwiler Fire slowly dies down. Cal Fire is getting control of the blaze but not before it burned more than 76,000 acres.

Monday is the first day some are learning if their homes survived the blaze.

Linda Scoggin’s home is the only one left standing on a remote road in Mt. Bullion north of Mariposa but that doesn’t mean everything survived.

“This was a shop. Big enough to park two big motor homes in. It was that big. I had a travel trailer. A tool shop. My Husband when he was alive was an industrial electrician,” Scoggin says.

The Detwiler Fire was so close to her house it scorched her porch, burned the landscaping on the side of the building and melted her outdoor thermometer. The heat from the flames was so intense it shattered windows and an outdoor glass table.

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Scoggin has been evacuated from her home for a week after fleeing with her 92-year-old mother, 4 dogs, and 2 horses. She still has a long clean up job ahead of her removing burned trees and the debris from the burned workshop and replacing carpet and drapes that are thick with the smell of smoke. She thinks it will be at least a month before she can move back in.

Scoggin has lived in the home for nearly 4 decades and she says she feels a visceral loss even if the house itself survived.

“My husband died about 3 or 4 years ago. I am glad he didn’t see all this because we built it ourselves. I mean the cement. The electrical. The plumbing. We even raked the field with hand rakes to get the rocks out of it,” Scoggin says.

She is one of the lucky ones. At least 60 single family homes, including every one of her neighbors, burned to the ground.

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The speed of the fire took many in the area by surprise as it sped through the abundant tall dry grass. In the fire’s early stages it traveled miles a day.

There is a meeting from 9 to 7 on Tuesday at the Mariposa County High School for cleanup information and disaster assistance.

Jeffrey Hess is a reporter and Morning Edition news host for Valley Public Radio. Jeffrey was born and raised in a small town in rural southeast Ohio. After graduating from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio with a communications degree, Jeffrey embarked on a radio career. After brief stops at stations in Ohio and Texas, and not so brief stops in Florida and Mississippi, Jeffrey and his new wife Shivon are happy to be part Valley Public Radio.
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