Home after an evacuation of nine days, Herb Brasche was clearing leaves, ash and branches from his front yard in Oakmont Wednesday when a fire engine from Pasadena rumbled slowly by.

The firetruck continued a short ways, then turned back and came to a stop near the home.

Four firefighters exited the rig, approached Brasche and said they’d like to help him clean his yard. Both he and his wife, Ingrid, thanked them but insisted they take a rest, that they’d done enough for Sonoma County people already.

The firefighters insisted. They took up rakes and brooms and made short work of the task that would have taken the retired hospital maintenance engineer, working alone, much longer.

“These four guys jumped out of that truck and just took over,” Ingrid Brasche said.

“That is way beyond. ... They’re not expected to do that.”

She later learned from a friend elsewhere in Oakmont that a team of Berkeley firefighters did the same thing for her.

Firefighters who quite likely helped to save homes then came around to clean yards. They left residents struggling to find words to thank them, and to grasp the magnitude of the disaster — and the caring, humanity and kindness of those who’ve responded.