'We're still here and we're safe': Some residents stay behind despite wildfire evacuations

Sharon and Helmut Emke are part of a neighborhood that chose not to leave after mandatory evacuations from the Nuns Fire.

SONOMA, Calif –Sharon and Helmut Emke are part of a neighborhood that chose not to leave after mandatory evacuations from the Nuns Fire.

The two have been without power for two days, but they're getting by.

Helmut plugged the refrigerator into a generator.

Wine bottles have doubled as lanterns. The propane tanks are in the pool, and there are plenty of batteries and flashlights.

The two have been taking different shifts watching the fire until last night when they finally slept at the same time.

“It was just all around us,” said Sharon describing Sunday night, “and we could see it because it was still dark and we could see the flames and then the smoke. It progressively got worse, but today is a great day and we're still here and we're safe.”

For the first time since the blaze began, blue skies are visible above Sonoma.

“We're not wearing our masks,” Sharon said. “We can be outside. We're actually going to have lunch outside.

Sharon said police let her pass the road blocks to get a generator and escorted her back in. Although they have positive thoughts, they aren’t taking the blue skies for granted.

“We are hopeful,” she said, “but we are not overconfident. And we're still on alert. We're still diligent and still checking.”

Sharon said the decision to stay was the right choice for her and her husband.

“I don't regret it at all, and there was only really two scary times, but short-lived.”

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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