In smoldering wildfire ruins, life goes on for a hardy few

PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — A small group of residents who survived the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in a century are defying evacuation orders and living in the burn zone.

Brad Weldon, who saved his Paradise home from the fire, says there was nowhere he could take his 89-year-old blind mother and he wants to protect his home from looters.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says he doesn’t know how many people remain in the evacuation zones. He says deputies won’t arrest residents in their homes who aren’t causing trouble.

Residents staying behind face a steep challenge ahead in the smoldering area: There’s no power, no public water supply and nowhere nearby to get supplies.

Residents who leave to get groceries, drinking water or fuel for generators, aren’t allowed to return.