The Soberanes Fire has forced evacuations from Big Sur to Carmel Valley since the wildfire sparked on Friday, July 22. One of those fire evacuees is Charlie Kolofer. For him, waiting to go back home very well might be the hardest part of the Soberanes Fire.
"It's just a matter of when we can go back in there and rebuild" said Kolofer.
Kolofer lives off Palo Colorado road in southern Carmel. He told KION that he doesn't know if his home is still standing but he expects, at the very least, there will be damages.
"I am pretty sure there is smoke damage to the property,” said Kolofer. “Hopefully it is (just) that and everything is okay."
Kolofer says when he saw the smoke and flames in the distance last Friday, he knew it was time to go. That is a practice that Cal Fire says was the right move.
"Homes are replaceable, but we can't rebuild you. We can't rebuild your kids, we can't even rebuild your dog," said Danny Cook, a public information officer with Cal Fire.
Cook took KION on a tour of some of the evacuation warning zones in Carmel Valley. He says if you live in a rural area it's important to always be ready.
"They go soon, they go early, and they aren't waiting for us to come bang on their doors because at that point it's a little too late," said Cook.
Cal Fire calls it ready, set, go and it's something that Cook talks about all year around.
It involves keeping a defensible space around your house, having plenty of food and water, having irreplaceable items like pictures ready to go and just getting out.
"If you still find yourself in a mandatory evacuation zone, you need to leave,” said Cook. ”It's mandatory for a reason.”
Back at the evacuation center the idea of leaving was something Kolofer says he couldn't second guess.
"It is decision that you really can't ponder to think upon,” said Kolofer. “That ‘should I stay or should I go’ -- you have to trust the decision of the people who are involved in the fire."