A resident of a small rural community in Lake County recorded harrowing video Saturday evening while driving to escape the Valley Fire, which has consumed 50,000 acres and injured four firefighters in Northern California.
The terrifying footage, nearly two minutes long and uploaded to YouTube by user “mulletFive,” begins with the unidentified driver apparently strapping on his seatbelt before navigating a smoke-covered road through Anderson Springs (map).
Massive flames rise on both sides of the vehicle, burning trees, brush and multiple structures. Meanwhile, glowing embers glide through the air and strike the windshield.
The scene appears especially apocalyptic when the driver passes underneath the landmark “Anderson Springs” sign, located at an entrance to the community, and sees one structure engulfed in an inferno.
In a comment posted Sunday on YouTube, the video’s uploader acknowledged that “we did wait way too long to get out.”
“We are the last house at the very back of the Springs, down in a gulch,” he continued. “There was no smoke or ash coming our way, and there were no sirens or air support nearby, so we honestly didn’t know how close (the fire) was.”
He said there were no firefighters in the area at the time and speculated that was because fire agencies did not have enough resources to deploy there.
“In retrospect, we should have gone out for a drive to find out what was going on, but we were a little preoccupied with packing,” the resident added.
He did not immediately respond to an inquiry from KTLA, asking for his name and additional details about the perilous drive.
“I am in the Bay Area waiting for the roads to reopen,” he stated online Sunday evening, “and as soon as they do I will shoot video driving around the Springs and post it ASAP.”