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Two Years After Destructive Woolsey Wildfire, Resident Whose Home Burned Down Hopes To Return

Dawn Hummer

It's two years on Sunday, since the Woolsey and Hill Fires ignited and went on to burn 97,000 acres across Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. 

At least 1600 homes were destroyed and three people died, as the wildfire prompted the unprecedented evacuation of more than 295,000 people as it spread through Thousand Oaks, Oak Park, Agoura Hills and Malibu. 

The scars remain for many who lost their homes, including one resident whose home at Seminole Springs Mobile Home Park burned down.

Musician Dawn Hummer's home was one of over a hundred that were lost at the park.  Two years later, the charred and blackened trees remain, as well as an empty space where her home once was.

She is hopeful she may finally be able to move back into a new home at the Agoura Hills community in the new year. 

Credit KCLU
Dawn Hummer returned to the site of her former home, two years after it was destroyed in the Woolsey Fire

Dawn recalled how she had a ten minute warning to evacuate, on that fateful morning. 

"It was 7.20am. They came to the bottom of the street and said with a bullhorn, 'everybody out, you have ten minutes.'

"We just got the cats and grabbed a last few minute things. Your mind is just racing and eyes are tearing around the room. 

"There was a basket of stuff that I had, childhood things...and I didn't get it and I kick myself for not grabbing that basket. 

"I know it's just kind of put it out of your mind, but then somebody will mention something and you'll say 'I used to have that'. There's nothing you can do about it now, you just move on. It's traumatic and it's weird and it's surreal."

Dawn says she lost over 2000 vinyl albums from her collection, 12 of her 15 guitars, priceless Beatles memorabilia, sentimental family items and jewelry.  She has been living in a rented apartment for most of the two years, after an initial two month stay on an air-mattress with her brother, but is now bracing herself for the emotions of moving back to the site, in a newly built home which she's waited two years for. 

Credit Dawn Hummer
This is what was left of Dawn's home, she only managed to save her cats and a few personal items

She finally received a call this week that her new home is off the production line and will be delivered within ten days. 

"My husband and I have mixed emotions. There's many times in the last two years where we almost didn't come back. 

Once the mobile home is on the property it has to be fixed up and the exterior works and hook ups take place, which takes around two months. 

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 6 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.
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