By Don Ford

LAKE COUNTY (CBS SF) — Last year’s fire burned more than 75,000 acres  and destroyed almost 2,000 buildings – leaving behind a charred blackened moonscape.

A lot has changed since then. The recent rains have transformed the valley and flowers, such as the California Poppy, are popping up everywhere.

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Roberto Vazquez lives in Middletown and said the landscape is finally nice again.

“Now that I see the flowers, it’s nice to see that it’s coming back to life again and that we’re finally going to make it through the valley fire. It’s finally over,” Vazquez said.

All over the valley green grass and flowers are growing. The fire-scorched earth left behind fertile ground even in the worst areas and life is taking hold, sprouting green, blue and gold.

Peter Alsing’s house burned down in the fire. As he walks around what was once his family’s home, he notes that the fire was so hot it killed an oak tree his grandfather planted, but notes that there too life is returning.

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“This was my little Yamaha 4 stroke motor,”Alsing said as he held up a puddle of hardened aluminum. “Now it looks like a frog or something,” he jokes.

He said the new flowers, the new grass, helps him maintain a positive attitude.

“Somebody gave me a little sign, don’t look back. You’re not going that way,” he chuckles.

The scars of fire and destruction still remain, and the fire crews remain vigilant. But the new widespread beauty is uplifting everyone in the valley.

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While the area is certainly looking a lot better, just around the corner is the annual burning ban. That begins May 1st.