Ahead of the Idyllwild Strong weekend, KMIR spoke with mountain residents Friday morning to see how the community is recovering.
Decades of memories gone. Ernesto Ale was out of town when the Cranston Fire lit up the Idyllwild community. He got the devastating call from a friend.
“She goes, your house is gone,” says Ale.
Few things survived the fire. His son’s knife is now scorched.
He says, “my son’s room was up there, it’s like doesn’t exist at all.”
For now, Ernesto is staying at a friends cabin and is doing well. But the hardest part is knowing many items can’t be replaced.
“My grandfather’s fine wood working, some of my favorite pieces that I made,” he says.
The Cranston Fire burned so much of the mountain community. It took away Ernesto’s home and several others, but the entire Idyllwild community is now struggling to get back to normal. Even those who from the outside seem untouched.
Paul White, the owner of Bake and Brew, stayed behind to feed the first responders, despite evacuation orders. He’s still trying to recover from the loss of revenue.
But he says the financial hit isn’t what matters, “Idyllwild is a special place. There’s a lot of people up here that have really stepped up and done a lot of good and just helping each other out.”
Which is why Ernesto says, despite the devastating time, it’s really the opposite.
“This is like the happiest time of my life somehow. I have so much love around me,” he says.
Something not even an arsonist could wipe out.