SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Emotions are still raw for many who went through the 2007 fires in San Diego County and lost homes or loved ones.
"You could imagine [it was] a very traumatic time for everyone," Karen Stelman of the Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo recalling the devastation of the Witch Creek fire a decade ago.
The Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo was one of many tents set up at the Rancho Bernardo Community Council Safety Fair at Webb Park on Sunday commemorating the 10th anniversary of the fire.
The Rotary Club had a "healing field" commemoration setting up with more than 1,100 flags for each of the homes lost in the fire.
Merritt Dunsmore lived in one of them and was at a wedding in Las Vegas during the fires.
"We didn't get a chance to get anything out of the house," said Dunsmore. "We had everything on our back.
"We spent 10 days sifting through stuff, but it was just a shock when you sat there and looked at it the tallest thing on the property was the refrigerator. Everything else, like the tile and the roof, was flat to the ground."
Wanting to keep morale up, a support group called Fired Up Sisters was formed.
"We get together and we still have a mission of paying it forward, so that when other disasters happen, like in Santa Rosa right now, we are going to try to do something to give support," said Norma Heeter of Fired Up Sisters.
In Jamul, the Deerhorn community also held a 10-year anniversary for the horrifying Harris fire on the land that used to be the big lodge building that before burning in the fire
Gregg and Michelle Grimaldo lost a home in Harris Fire."At one point we had to put our shirts over our face and just sat there and just wanted to know if [we] were going to get out," said Michelle. "[We] didn't know if we were going to make it."