SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Those wildfires in California that consumed of thousands of acres of land and destroyed more than 200 homes have now been contained.
Three Sioux Falls firefighters, who helped in the fire fighting efforts, are back home. This week they got a surprise visitor.
The Kincade Fire, the largest fire in California, burned over 77,000 acres around Sonoma.
It lasted 21 days before it was finally 100% contained, but it did millions of dollars in damage with many people losing their homes and other properties.
“From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for all that you did,” Janis Powers said.
Flowers lives in Santa Rosa, but is visiting her daughter here in Sioux Falls and wanted to stop by the fire station and say thank you to the three fire fighters who helped battle the blazes.
“You kept it from getting to our house and I’m really appreciative of that,” Janis Powers said.
The three are being credited with saving homes, lives and pets.
“Everything it was so wonderful to know that you guys put the brakes on that fire and were able to save a lot of lives and homes, particularly mine,” Flowers said.
But at times, the flames seemed to be too much.
“What was going through my mind was I had never fought wild fires in California before, the conditions and fuel are different out there than anywhere else I had ever been,” fire fighter Josh Groen said.
Flowers, who was here in Sioux Falls at the time, was panicking and for good reason.
“I kept following the news and it kept getting closer and closer and I thought are we going to lose it again,” Flowers said.
The Flowers lost their home to a wildfire in 2017 and had just rebuilt and moved into their new home in September.
That’s why she had to stop by and thank these three for helping save her new home.
“It’s nice to get closure with it nice to be able to visit with the people and see their side of things, we see them when we’re driving on the roads and in the city getting fuel they’re always waving and yelling thank you but pretty cool having someone stop by who is 17 hundred miles away,” Captain Terry Nelson said.
While Flowers was in Sioux Falls, she says her husband stayed back home and was told to evacuate, but never did.