But among those helping fight the flames was a couple of neighbors and their garden hose.
Jaimon Matthew lives in the Vintage Ranch Community, which was put under an evacuation advisory because of the American Fire. He said flames -- ignited by blowing embers -- got right up to the backyard fence of several homes.
While his family evacuated, he and a neighbor grabbed their garden hoses and began watering.
Here’s video Jaimon took as it was all happening. Firefighters were doing water drops, while he hosed down the flames.— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) October 7, 2019
These efforts worked— he saved his home and others in his neighborhood as well #AmericanFire pic.twitter.com/AmXhXj6FXF
Matthew posted a Facebook Live while it was all unfolding. The video shows firefighters in the area simultaneously assisting with water drops.
"So, the firefighters were fighting the fire down there, so we handled this part here," Matthew said, pointing to homes a few doors down from him, "And a helicopter dropped water down there."
The American Fire started around 3 pm Sunday, and within hours grew from 30 acres to 500. As of Sunday at 10 pm, the fire was 30% contained and evacuation advisories in the area were lifted.
While the fire mostly burned in steep, hilly terrain above American Canyon, flames did get dangerously close to homes.
Jaimon Matthew says flames from the #AmericanFire went all the way up to his backyard fence. While his family evacuated their home, he went up and hosed down the area to stop the flames pic.twitter.com/CqIddPHu29— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) October 7, 2019
Regie Ribera and JoJo Maglalang, who also live in the Vintage Ranch Community, said at one point flames got so close they started to run.
"It's scary," Ribera said. "My wife, my kids, my mother-in-law, I said, 'get in the car.'"
Ultimately, flames were stopped before reaching the subdivision.
"Firefighters were thankful to us, we were thankful to them," Matthew said. "It all happened good in the end."