Kaleigh Alves’ mother only had time to grab birth certificates, a computer and two pictures off the wall before the family joined hundreds of others and fled the monster wildfire approaching Middletown, California.
Two days later, one of Kaleigh’s friends from school was driving by the house with her father. She shot video of what was left and sent the files to Kaleigh.
“I was just in shock when I saw it,” Kaleigh, 16, told NBC News on Tuesday.
What she saw was barely even recognizable as the place where a house once stood. The white fence out front and the mailbox were all that was left in anything close to its original form. The rest was charred remains.
The blaze, known as the Valley Fire, grew to 67,000 acres on Tuesday, more than twice the land area of the city of San Francisco, as firefighters struggled to bring it under control.
California fire authorities reported that the blaze was 15 percent contained, an improvement from 10 percent on Monday. The Valley fire has destroyed almost 600 homes and killed a 72-year-old disabled woman who could not escape her home.
At least 23,000 people have been forced to flee the Valley fire, north of San Francisco, and a second blaze known as the Butte fire, outside Sacramento.
The Butte Fire has been less destructive but is even larger. It has destroyed more than 150 homes and businesses and was 37 percent contained on Tuesday.
Across California, at least four firefighters have been injured and at least eight have lost their homes. In all, two dozen fires are raging across Washington state, Oregon and California.
Firefighters hoped that lower temperatures and a chance of rain on Tuesday would help them gain ground against the blazes.
Kaleigh, a senior at Middletown High School, said she was playing soccer when the fire erupted on Saturday.
"We had to make sure the smoke wasn't too bad to play," she said. But then the players were told to leave during the second half. The family left shortly after that with the few items they could grab and their two dogs.
Kaleigh and her family are staying in Stockton with her aunt and uncle. She said the family will probably live with another family member in Hidden Valley while rebuilding their home.