Couple explains recovery process year after Lilac Fire sparked

BONSALL, Calif. -- The community devastated by the Lilac Fire nearly one year ago saw a good amount of rain Wednesday.

The fire that sparked around 11:15 a.m. on December 7, 2017 scorched 4,100 acres and destroyed more than 150 homes and structures, one of the homes that burned down belonged to Richard and Mary Schneider.

“Some of the stuff you can’t replace that you miss. Family memorabilia. I was an English professor and lost my whole library,” Richard Schneider said.

The couple said what was even more depressing was the fact that more than 70 of their neighbors lost their homes as well. They recall the harsh reality when they saw the destruction first hand.

“I kind of felt like we were on the moon. Everything was gray from the ash,” Mary Schneider said.

Almost a year later, what looked like a war zone has blossomed back into the Rancho Monserate community they moved into.

“You feel happy because you’re settled back and most of our friends are, too,” Mary said.

The Schneiders said what they have been through the past year is a reminder that things are far less important than the people that surround you.

“We’re lucky to be where we are I think right now with a situation that could have been a lot worse. Life’s good,” Richard said.

The couple -- who told FOX 5 they have also survived floods, a hurricane and tornado -- said they will be spending Christmas this year at their home with their kids and grandkids.