Redwood Valley residents after the fire: “We need prayers. And Dumpsters.”

The bright light in among the trees is Melvin Ford on his tractor at his daughger’s house as the fire raged in the background. Contributed
The bright light in among the trees is Melvin Ford on his tractor at his daughger’s house as the fire raged in the background. Contributed

Redwood Valley >> There was at least one good thing about the winds whipping up the fires a week ago.

“Our daughter couldn’t sleep because of the wind, so she was up around midnight and saw the flames coming over the hill,” said Leslie Ford, whose ranch in Redwood Valley borders on Potter Valley, where the devastating Mendocino Lake Complex fire reportedly began in the darkness between Oct. 8 and 9.

Once awakened by their daughter and out of their house, Leslie said her husband, Melvin, soon jumped on his bulldozer and began trying to block the flames from as many homes as he could along with his sons-in-law and his brother.

“I saw this man at 1:15 a.m. Monday saving his daughters’ home by creating a dozer line,” said fellow Redwood Valley resident Amanda Devereux. “I find it so amazing how our community has come together.”

Melvin declined to talk about his work battling the fires, and his wife said they both were very uncomfortable being singled out as being either especially heroic or tragic.

“We lost our home and one old gelding, but we are alive. It’s not necessary for people to feel sorry for us,” she said. “We made it out alive. Some people didn’t.”

When asked what she and others who find themselves alive, but with no home to live in, need right now, she said, “We need prayers. And Dumpsters!”