Groveland, Calif., resident Karine Matter has already packed the suitcases into her car. Photo albums are stacked near the front door. Coolers wait to be filled with food from the fridge. If firefighters can't stop the Yosemite rim fire before Greeley Hill, a few miles south of her home, Matter and her husband will have to evacuate their two young children for a third time in a little over a week.

The first time was Aug. 19. By then, the rim fire had been raging for two days and showed no signs of being contained. Her husband, a contractor who works about an hour away in the city of Murphys, called and said she and the children needed to leave right away. Emergency responders had just closed a road that was one hill away from their property.

Matter, a 47-year-old mother of six, gave herself just one hour to prepare. She had to decide what she couldn't live without and what would be left behind. In a phone interview with The Huffington Post, she described choosing the few items she would save from a potential fire. It was something she asked her two youngest children, ages 5 and 7, to help do. (Her four other children are adults and no longer live at home.)

"You have to think for the children," Matter explained. "I asked them to pick two favorite toys, two stuffed animals and a couple of books." She packed her children's treasures, along with their clothes, in a suitcase.

"It was just very scary -- it's almost like you just lose your brain," Matter continued. "You have to decide: what can I live with, and what can't I live with? Ninety percent you can get again, but it's that 10 percent."

Matter, a photographer, had irreplaceable 11-by-14 black and white photos of all her children that she hand-colored. She was so nervous that she called a friend to help her pack.

photos by door
Photo of the front door courtesy of Karine Matter.

"I couldn't even think straight ... For us, those are the things that are valuable. Those and photo albums for the individual kids, and a family photo album," said Matter. When he got home, her husband Don Matter concentrated on paper work: mortgage company files, slips for the car, and other important documents.

Matter and her family stayed in neighboring Pine Mountain Lake, about eight miles away, in a home where a friend and her four oldest children live. It was a tight fit. After three days Matter's family moved home again, after her husband sounded the alarm from Murphys that the fire was now approaching Pine Mountain Lake. It's now been five days since their last move. But they're prepared for a third evacuation.

The map below shows the Rim Fire highlighted in red with data from the California Fire Map. The yellow pins indicate the Matter home in Groveland and their friend's home in Pine Mountain Lake.

matter home

"The middle of Tuolumne [County] is burning up, and so it's hard to even think about who we might be able to stay with if we were mandatorily evacuated," Matter said. "They're all doing the same things we are."

For now, the Matters wait it out in their home amid the thick black smoke. She said she's concerned about long-term effects the smoke may have on her family, but has no where else to go.

"The economy is so hard up here for construction workers," Matter explained. And since the fire started on Aug. 17, everyone who had booked time at their vacation rental property has canceled.

"That [rental money] was really helping us, and I don't have the financial means to take off and drive to my parents in Southern California," Matter said. "I'm kind of stuck where I'm at.

As of Tuesday evening, firefighters had contained 20 percent of the rim fire, but the number of destroyed structures rose to 101, reports The Associated Press. An estimated 4,500 structures remained threatened.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story miscounted the number of days the wildfire had been burning. We regret the error.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • A fire truck drives past burning trees as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • A smoke plume from the Rim Fire rises nera Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. A raging wildfire in Yosemite National Park rained ash on the reservoir that is the chief source of San Francisco's famously pure drinking water, and utility officials Monday scrambled to send more water toward the metropolitan area before it becomes tainted. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • A helicopter flies over Tuolumne City, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, after dropping fire retardant over the Rim Fire. A raging wildfire in Yosemite National Park rained ash on the reservoir that is the chief source of San Francisco's famously pure drinking water, and utility officials Monday scrambled to send more water toward the metropolitan area before it becomes tainted. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • A helicopter reloads fire retardant as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire in Tuolumne City, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. A raging wildfire in Yosemite National Park rained ash on the reservoir that is the chief source of San Francisco's famously pure drinking water, and utility officials Monday scrambled to send more water toward the metropolitan area before it becomes tainted. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Aerial Water Drop on Rim Fire

    In this Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 photo provided by the California Army National Guard on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, Sgt. Chris Boni, crew chief from the 1-140th Aviation Battalion (Air Assault) from Los Alamitos Joint Training Base (JFTB), releases water to help control the Rim fire below near Yosemite National Park, Calif. The The UH-60 Black Hawk Crews are battling the Rim wildfire, one of the largest in California history, in support of the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE. (AP Photo/U.S. California Air National Guard, Master Sgt. Julie Avey)

  • Aerial Water Drop on Rim Fire

    In this Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 photo provided by the California Army National Guard on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, Sgt. Chris Boni, crew chief from the 1-140th Aviation Battalion (Air Assault) from Los Alamitos Joint Training Base (JFTB), releases water to help control the Rim fire below near Yosemite National Park, Calif. The The UH-60 Black Hawk Crews are battling the Rim wildfire, one of the largest in California history, in support of the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE. (AP Photo/U.S. California Air National Guard, Master Sgt. Julie Avey)

  • In this Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 photo provided by the California Army National Guard on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, smoke from the Rim fire billows near Yosemite National Park, Calif. UH-60 Black Hawk Crews are battling the Rim wildfire, one of the largest in California history, in support of the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE. (AP Photo/U.S. California Air National Guard, Master Sgt. Julie Avey)

  • Aerial Water Drop on Rim Fire

    In this Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 photo provided by the California Army National Guard on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, Sgt. Chris Boni, crew chief from the 1-140th Aviation Battalion (Air Assault) from Los Alamitos Joint Training Base (JFTB), releases water to help control the Rim fire below near Yosemite National Park, Calif. The The UH-60 Black Hawk Crews are battling the Rim wildfire, one of the largest in California history, in support of the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE. (AP Photo/U.S. California Air National Guard, Master Sgt. Julie Avey)

  • Aerial Water Drop on Rim Fire

    In this Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 photo provided by the California Army National Guard on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, the 129th Rescue Wing's HH-60 Pave Hawk air crews battle the Rim Fire over Yosemite National Park, Calif., in support of the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE. (AP Photo/U.S. California Air National Guard, Master Sgt. Julie Avey)

  • In this Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 photo provided by the California Army National Guard on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, Sgt. Chris Boni, crew chief from the 1-140th Aviation Battalion (Air Assault) from Los Alamitos Joint Training Base (JFTB), releases water to help control the Rim fire below near Yosemite National Park, Calif. The The UH-60 Black Hawk Crews are battling the Rim wildfire, one of the largest in California history, in support of the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE. (AP Photo/U.S. California Air National Guard, Master Sgt. Julie Avey)

  • Smoke clouds and bands of haze from the Rim Fire in the western Sierra Nevada loom up some 20 miles behind the famed granite monolith known as Half Dome, right center, seen from 11,500-foot Mt. Clark in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. Containment of the Rim Fire more than doubled to 15 percent, although it was within a mile of the park's Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the source of San Francisco's famously pure drinking water, officials said Monday. (AP Photo/Tami Abdollah)

  • Smoke clouds from the Rim Fire in the western Sierra Nevada loom up some 20 miles behind the famed granite monolith known as Half Dome, left center, in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. Containment of the Rim Fire more than doubled to 15 percent, although it was within a mile of the park's Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the source of San Francisco's famously pure drinking water, officials said Monday. (AP Photo/Tami Abdollah)

  • A firefighter looks at the Rim Fire incident report map posted at the command post near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • In this Monday, Aug. 26, 2013 satellite photo released by NASA, a smoke plume trails north from the drought-fueled Rim Fire, center, burning near Yosemite National Park in central California. Red outlines indicate hot spots where the satellite detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires. Containment of the fire more than doubled to 15 percent, although it was within a mile of the park's Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the source of San Francisco's famously pure drinking water, officials said. (AP Photo/NASA)

  • A fire truck drives past burning trees as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • In this Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, photo, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is hazy with smoke from the Rim Fire fills the air in Yosemite National Park, Calif. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Firefighters pour water on a hot spot at a campground destroyed by the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • A firefighter stands on top of a fire truck at a campground destroyed by the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Two firefighters watch trees burn while battling the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • A burned SUV sits in front of a campground destroyed by the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • A burned tree stands near state Highway 120 as the sun rises through a heavy smoke from the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. With winds gusting to 50 mph on Sierra mountain ridges and flames jumping from treetop to treetop, hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to protect this and other communities in the path of the Rim Fire raging north of Yosemite National Park. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • A small boat floats on the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir as the smoke and some embers from the Rim Fire fill the air in Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. With winds gusting to 50 mph on Sierra mountain ridges and flames jumping from treetop to treetop, hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to protect this and other communities in the path of the Rim Fire raging north of Yosemite National Park. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Charlie Ferris

    Firefighter Charlie Ferris, of Los Angeles, watches a smoke plume from the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. With winds gusting and flames jumping from treetop to treetop, hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to protect this and other communities in the path of the Rim Fire raging north of Yosemite National Park. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Trees burn in a burnout fire as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Fire crews are clearing brush and setting sprinklers to protect two groves of giant sequoias as a massive week-old wildfire rages along the remote northwest edge of Yosemite National Park. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Inmate firefighters walk along state Highway 120 as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Fire crews are clearing brush and setting sprinklers to protect two groves of giant sequoias as a massive week-old wildfire rages along the remote northwest edge of Yosemite National Park. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)