Lawson Valley man stays behind to help community during Valley Fire

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SAN DIEGO – Crews were keeping a close eye on Lawson Valley Monday night, where incoming Santa Ana winds could push the fire toward more rugged terrain and homes.

“This valley hasn’t burned in 47 years, so it’s a tinderbox,” Butch Battin said.

Battin has lived in Lawson Valley for the last decade. Fire crews have been using his property for staging and supplies since the Valley Fire started Saturday.

“That truck is full of ice, down on the ground pallets of supplies, hoses, nozzles. They’ve been coming here and picking hoses to stretch out and put out hot spots,” he said.

The Valley Fire has scorched more than 17,000 acres and a few dozen structures, including some near Battin’s home.

“Fire picks and chooses. You think your house would burn up — where it was located near a whole bunch of trees — and then you’d be surprised which ones burn and which ones don’t,” Battin said.

He told FOX 5 he has stayed at his property because once you leave, you can’t come back. Roads are closed in several areas. He said the community is extremely close and he’s found a way to help those who need to get back to their properties.

“I’ve been shuttling people from the top of Wisecarver Road instead of them walking down, I just pick them up,” he said.

Battin said neighbors have already caught a couple looters in the area, something he hopes other residents will keep an eye out for.

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