ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN) — Firefighter HotShot crews continue to work on many still smoldering sections of the Riverside Fire, doing all the work by hand with axes and shovels — and they expect to be at it for quite some time. This area is still a Level 3 evacuation zone in Clackamas County.

But many people are returning even though the fire danger remains so high. They’re back to protect their houses — not just from looters but from the ongoing threat of fire, digging firelines and acting as their own fire crews.

Morgan Olsen returned to try and save his house in Estacada by helping to dig firelines as the Riverside Fire raged nearby, September 17, 2020 (KOIN)

“The crews have been through my property several times now, taken the majority of hot spots down,” said homeowner Morgan Olsen. “It’s now on the people who live here to go back when it’s safe to take care of the little spots.”

Neighbors were spotted doing just that, even helping the fire crews.

But the fire tore through acres of forest and property and then left some homes standing.

Not far from Morgan Olsen’s house is the spot where Peter and Lisa Fuller’s house used to stand. They escaped just as the fire approached but lost everything in the blaze.

Peter and Lisa Fuller lost their Estacada home to the Riverside Fire, September 17, 2020 (KOIN)

“We’re not done here,” Lisa said. “We’ll rebuild.”

Behind the house was Peter’s workshop where he crafted marimbas for decades for school music programs and students. It was a place where students could even come and tour.

A GoFundMe has been started to help replace the marimba studio

But they’re already making plans to rebuild. They put off their wedding plans last month — but got married a few days ago.

“Nature is resilient,” they said and they vowed to “create a new life.”

Peter and Lisa Fuller lost their Estacada home to the Riverside Fire, September 17, 2020 (KOIN)