Yesterday I decided to take down a 3 hr drive from San Francisco to Calaveras country where Butte fire has burned down almost 70,760 acres and is now 67% contained. I wanted to document the aftermath of the incident which started on the 9th September. I wasn't shooting for any news publication and was unsure on what and how much I will be able to photograph. I have read in the news that San Andreas and the nearby towns were the most affected, so I decided to continue further down Jesus Maria road. I met some cops there and after telling them I was a freelance photojournalist, they let me go. What I saw there was beyond my imagination, burned houses, cars, everything was completely charred. I also met some firefighters on the way who were there to douse any glows they saw on the road. Some told me that they had already put in almost 62 hours this week. I also met a family whose home was fortunately not impacted because of the fire. They had evacuated their house on Thursday and moved back in just recently but there was no electricity in the house and they were using a generator. I also met a guy who lost his whole house in the fire and had no insurance. and he has been sleeping in his car for days. There was also a donation camp setup at Burson Full Gospel church where volunteers are working day and night to sort out all donations so that it reaches the right hands. I heard so many stories in these 12 hours and my heart goes out to all those people who were impacted. Well as one of the guy who lost his trailer in the fire and was now living with his dog in a tent told me - "There is nothing else you can do except starting all over again". I hope these photos do justice to what I saw.
One of the first burned sites I saw on the Jesus Maria road. CAL fire reported that Butte Fire has destroyed around 250 homes by Friday.
CAL fire truck look around for any hotspots on the Jesus Maria Road. Every few minutes I could see a CAL fire truck patrolling around the area to look around for any hotspots.
Ryan Johnson from Modoc Country works on the fire hose after putting down a small fire on Jesus Maria. Their team has been working 24 hour shifts
Hector Prado, from the Bay area works with Ryan Johnson to wrap the fire hose after dousing a small fire.
(from L-R) Kris Lowry, Joey Storey, Blake Cuevas, Caleb Storey from the Altaville Melones fire protection district pose for a quick portrait.
Robert Shepherd lost his trailer because of the fire at Mountain Ranch Road. He is now living with his dog named Patch in a tent at Burson Full Gospel Church.
Bob Lamberton along with his daughter, granddaughter evacuated when the fire started. Fortunately nothing happened to their house, and just moved back in their house recently.
Bob, his daughter(R) Bonny Poage and his granddaughter Sage Miller are living without electricity. They are now using a generator which helps power their living room.
A donation center has been setup at Burson Full Gospel church where volunteers work day and night to sort the materials.
A horse is seen at the parking lot of Burson church where a lot of evacuees are currently living in tents.