A week ago, the scenic Northern California hamlet of Klamath River was home to about 200 people and had a community center, post office and a corner grocery store. Now, after a wildfire raged through the forested region near the Oregon state line, four people are dead and the store is among the few buildings not reduced to ashes.
At an evacuation center Wednesday, Bill Simms said that three of the four victims were his neighbors. Two were a married couple who lived up the road.
‘I don’t get emotional about stuff and material things,’ Simms said. ‘But when you hear my next-door neighbors died ... that gets a little emotional.’
The 65-year-old retiree bought his property six years ago as a second home with access to hunting and fishing. He said Klamath River is a place people are attracted to because they can have privacy and enjoy nature.
He went back to check on his property Tuesday and found it was destroyed. ‘The house, the guest house and the RV were gone. It’s just wasteland, devastation,’ Simms said.