NAPA (KPIX 5) — People in the North Bay fire zones want to do something about a lack of information being provided by officials as to whether their homes are still standing.

So some area residents are banding together to conduct their own investigations. For the past three days, Josh Browning has been taking fire reporting into his own hands.

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“Sitting around in town was just killing me, so I had to just come up here for myself,” explained Browning.

He lives near Mt. Veeder in Napa County, an area authorities told him to evacuate two days ago. But from his vantage point riding around nearby hills on an ATV, things still appear okay.

“If it gets too dangerous, we can get out. We have a few escape roots, Brown Mr. Neiman ‘dozed out a road right here,” said Browning. “I just got sick of not knowing.”

Thursday afternoon was the first time Browning had seen black smoke on Mt Veeder this week — a sign crews have started air drops as fire creeps over the ridge.

Sonoma resident Darius Anderson opened up his culinary school to first responders and neighbors who lost their homes.

He was forced to evacuate his home on Sonoma Highway in the middle of the night Monday and can’t cross the road blocks to get back.

“You know, its anxious. I wish I could just drive up there and know what the facts are,” said Anderson.

As a frustrated and well-connected businessman, Anderson wasn’t satisfied with long-term relief efforts he had seen for other natural disasters.

So Wednesday night, he launched a new non-profit called It will bring together business leaders to ensure the North Bay doesn’t become old news six months from now.

“When you have skills that you can offer up when people are in need, I think you need to do that,” said Anderson.

It’s a bootstrap mentality, that’s playing out across the North Bay in more ways than one.

KPIX 5 was able to check on Anderson’s home while reporting from behind fire barricades Thursday. We were happy to inform him that his home was still standing.