Not everyone has evacuated from the mountain town of Julian. With smoke rising in the distance, Dave Hackstedde — the 49-year-old caretaker of the Orfila Winery picked up the scattered debris left by howling winds that blanketed Julian on Sunday and Monday.

“It felt like a hurricane,” he said. “It was that bad. I breathed a big sigh of relief when it was just 40 mph yesterday.”

Hackstedde admitted he was anxious about the fire turning around on Wynola, where he was working. But after surviving the 2003 Cedar Fire, he said he was confident that his home could withstand any onslaught.

“You wouldn’t believe the fuel that was here in 2003,” he said. “That’s all gone.”

Hackstedde said fire crews drew a line near his home and battled back the Cedar Fire. Novato fire apparatus engineer Steven Rucker died nearby in the 2003 blaze.

“On God’s word, it turned tail and came back with all the ferocity in the world,” he said. “I’m all set to go if it were to turn around.”


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