15 Shocking Videos Expose The Reality Of Surviving The California Wildfires

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

The Northern California wildfires are fast-moving, unpredictable, and for some, unsurvivable.

The videos below will show you what it’s really like, trying to survive an ever-changing inferno…and why you shouldn’t wait for the official evacuation order.

A lot of folks have been critical, saying blithely, “They knew there was a fire. They should have evacuated.” It’s important to understand that it doesn’t always work like that with wildfires. Armchair quarterbacking is easy. Fleeing when the car your driving literally catches on fire and the smoke is blinding you is not.

First of all, fires move rapidly. You can be in no danger whatsoever and just see a fire on the distant horizon, and then minutes later, it’s at your back door. Secondly, they change courses. Many times, the fire gets ahold of some new fuel – like a home, tall grass, or trees, and the course veers in that direction. Finally, high winds have propelled these fires rapidly and fanned them to new heights. Every fall, California has something called the “Diablo Winds.” These are seasonal gusts that can reach as high as 80 mph and cause extremely high fire danger. When coupled with existing fires, it’s nothing less than the perfect storm.

October is often the worst month of the year for wildfires in California. Not only is it the time when the Diablo winds (or Santa Ana winds in Southern California) kick up, but it’s also the driest month. California has a long dry season. It isn’t unusual to go without a single drop of rain from May through the end of October. Because of this, all the lush grass that grows during the spring rainy season is dried, crisp, and tragically perfect fuel.

In situations like this, there is often little to no warning before the fire is roaring through your property. The fire may be miles away and heading in the opposite direction one minute, then turn on a dime. Then suddenly, you find yourself directly in the path of an inferno. If you’re lucky, you escape unscathed with your life but lose all your worldly possessions. Many people have not been lucky.

15 large wildfires are blazing through Northern California’s wine country. 40 people are confirmed dead, hundreds are missing, more than a 100,000 have evacuated, and nearly 6000 homes and businesses have been completely burned to the ground. Thus far, the damage estimate is more than 3 billion dollars.

The following videos and stories show you what the Northern California wildfires are really like.

This video is shot from a fire engine from Berkeley, California on the day Santa Rosa burned. It gives you the firefighters’ firsthand view of the destruction and the speed with which it was wrought.

This video shows the utter devastation from the wildfires and includes clips of people escaping with only their lives.

These two roommates left with their dogs as the fire jumped the hill behind their home, narrowly escaping death. (Strong language)

This police officer’s body camera shows the terrifying scene when he was helping people evacuate.

This couple described their escape as being like “driving through hell.”

This video shows multiple clips of people fleeing the blaze as embers rain down and the billowing smoke gets closer. They are trappd on the freeway in slow-moving traffic.

In one tragic story, a family tried to evacuate by car. Their car caught on fire and they had to take off on foot to try and outrun the blaze. They got separated in the smoke. A 14-year-old boy burned to death and the other members of the family are burned over more than half their bodies. The mother and daughter were found by a neighbor and the father was found by paramedics. (source)

In a story with a happier ending, a farmer tried to evacuate his dogs but one refused to go. Odin, a Great Pyrenees, stayed with his herd of goats. The owners were positive they’d never see their beloved dog again, but when they returned to the farm, they discovered a slightly singed Odin with every member of his herd unharmed. This very good boy had even picked up a few baby deer. (source)

Haunting drone footage shows what Santa Rosa looks like after the fire.

While I strongly recommend evacuating in a situation like this, one man stayed behind and managed to save his home and his neighbor’s home from the wildfire.

Along the Napa/Sonoma border, these residents scrambled for safety and barely escaped with their lives. There were fires in all directions, blocking escape routes. People had to choose whether to drive through blinding smoke or flames.

This couple survived a wildfire they couldn’t escape by taking refuge in a neighbor’s swimming pool for SIX hours as the fire blazed all around them.

Another couple who tried to take refuge in a pool was not so fortunate. The woman died in her husband’s arms after 60 years of marriage.

This family’s dog ran away in a panic and they had no option but to leave. They returned home, certain their beloved pup had perished, but then they found this:

These interviews tell the stories of more narrow escapes.

This aerial footage gives you a better idea of what firefighters are dealing with during these widespread blazes.

More than eleven thousand firefighters are pushing themselves to the limits of their endurance to contain these fires, but they aren’t able to directly respond and save people. As the mayor of Calistoga said in a press conference to the few who opted to ignore evacuation orders, “You will NOT be given life safety support at this point. You are on your own.” Exhausted firefighters are grabbing moments of rest when they can.

In some areas, civilians, farmers, and construction crews have taken a stand to protect their homes from the infernos.

The story of the Capell Valley community is one that was repeated in neighborhoods and valleys across Northern California’s wine country this week, as dry conditions and high winds fueled multiple fires in Sonoma, Napa, Yuba and Mendocino counties.


It was not only firefighters who stood in the path of the blazes, but civilians too. Contractors, skilled construction workers and even former wildland firefighters came out of the woodwork to run bulldozers and drive multi-thousand gallon water tenders on twisty and damaged back roads.

They picked up what tools and equipment they could and tried to save their neighborhoods….


This wasn’t the first time Gil Pridmore had fought a fire in those hills. He spent years as the boss of a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection bulldozer crew and fought the 1981 Atlas Peak Fire.


He used this experience to help lead a team of 30 people to cut multiple layers of firelines on the rim of the valley.


When flames would breach their lines and encroach on houses, the goal was to get the house “in the black,” or completely surrounded by burned areas so there was no fuel left to catch fire. (source)

They managed to save all but one home in the valley.

A few things to learn from the California wildfires

There are lessons to be learned from these videos (and 5 years of living in fire-prone California.) Wildfires happen in other parts of the United States as well, and it’s important to be prepared before the first spark.

You need a fire kit in your vehicle at all times. Things to include:

  • Swimming goggles: This will protect your eyes and help keep you from being blinded by smoke
  • Respirator masks: This doesn’t mean you will be able to breathe if the fire sucks all the oxygen from your environment, but it will help to filter out some of the smoke so you aren’t disabled by a coughing fit.
  • Fire extinguisher: In a worst case scenario if your vehicle catches on fire, you may be able to put it out if you attack while the blaze is small.
  • Welding gloves: Remember the guy who burned his hands opening a gate? Welding gloves will offer some protection from hot surfaces.

And here are some tips.

  • Do not wait for the official order: In some parts of Sonoma County, people are questioning why an evacuation alert never came. While officials do their best, YOU are the person who is responsible for your family’s safety. (source)
  • Have more than one escape route: In situations like this, you will often find your escape route blocked. Have more than one way out. Figure these out ahead of time and now when you are fleeing for your life and blinded by smoke.
  • Evacuate large animals ahead of time. If possible, evacuate your livestock before the emergency becomes a crisis. In a situation like this, animals can be fearful and uncooperative. Get your livestock to safety first, because if you have to rush out like many of these families did, you’ll have to leave them behind, helpless. I shared good news stories above, but a friend of mine in California went to help out with veterinary rescue. There are far more bad news stories.
  • Leash or crate pets early on: They will be affected by the same kind of panic. A normally well-behaved pet could rush off into danger, leaving you to make the choice to leave them behind or risk your family’s lives trying to save them.
  • Grab your dirty clothes hampers: If you have time to grab a few things unless you have just done laundry, grab dirty clothes hampers. They’re likely to have several days of clothing from the skin out, PJs, and socks, saving you time from searching for all those things individually.
  • Keep precious items and documents in one area: Make sure irreplaceable things are kept together. We have a decorative trunk near the door into which we can sweep precious mementos. Important documents are backed up in the Cloud, which means we don’t have to spend time packing those.

The fires are beginning to be contained, and firefighters say they are gaining an edge. Two out of three of the most destructive fires are more than 50% contained. Some people in Sonoma will be allowed to return to their homes today – or what’s left of them. Winds have lightened, but the weather will still be hot and dry until Thursday when there is a small chance of blessed rain. (source)

I wish those in the affected areas the very best.


European American NoDebt Mon, 10/16/2017 - 21:30 Permalink

In the Wildland FIREfighting world, which I had many opportunities, across the country, to directly participate in, we called this type of catastrophic FIRE seen in California, a "Bleacher" FIRE.In the initial response, and sometimes for a week, or so, thereafter, all one could do is sit in the Bleachers and watch it. These are very ANGRY FIREs. And yes, each one is most definitely alive and has it's own personality.LIPs...Life SafetyIncident stabilizationProperty conservation

In reply to by NoDebt

Slack Jack European American Mon, 10/16/2017 - 21:32 Permalink

Record-Setting Hurricanes; Record temperatures; Record-Setting Wildfires; ya think it might be global warming?


So, why is the global rise in temperatures so worrisome?

For one thing, as temperatures rise good farmland will become desert (e.g., dust-bowl conditions will probably return to the American Midwest).

Another major problem is sea-level rise.

Have a look at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/

The U.S. Geological Survey people claim that;

The Greenland ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 6.55 meters (21.5 feet),
the West Antarctica ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 8.06 meters (26.4 feet),
the East Antarctica ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 64.8 meters (212.6 feet),
and all other ice melting will raise sea-level 0.91 meters (3 feet).

For a grand total of about 80 meters (263 feet).

So, what does an 80 meter (263 feet) rise in sea-level mean. Have a look at the following map of the world after an 80 meter rise. It means that over one billion people will have to be resettled to higher ground and that much of the most productive agricultural land will be under water. Fortunately, at current rates, the Greenland ice sheet will take over a thousand years to melt and the Antarctica ice sheet, much longer. However, the greater the temperature rise the faster the ice sheets will melt, bringing the problem much closer. Remember, the huge ice sheet that recently covered much of North America, almost completely melted in only 15,000 years (today, only the Greenland ice sheet, and some other small patches of it, remain). Since then (15,000 years ago), sea-levels have risen about 125 meters (410 feet), only 80 meters to go.

The ice sheets have been continuously melting for thousands of years. What is left of them today, is still melting, and will continue to melt. Human caused global warning will cause this remnant to melt significantly faster. This is a big, big, problem.

For HUGE detailed maps of the "World after the Melt" go to:


Global temperatures are increasing. And by quite a lot each year.

2016 is the hottest year on record for global temperatures.

This is 0.0380 degrees centigrade hotter than the previous record year which was 2015.

0.0380 is a large increase in just one year.

2015 was the hottest year (at that time) for global temperatures.

This was 0.1601 degrees hotter than the previous record year which was 2014.

0.1601 is an absolutely huge increase in just one year (at this rate temperatures would increase by 16 degrees in a century).

2014 was the hottest year (at that time) for global temperatures.

This was 0.0402 degrees hotter than the previous record year which was 2010.


The conspiracy to hide global warming data.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is given tax money to make global temperature records available to the public. However, certain people at NOAA continually sabotage this aspect of NOAA's mandate. For example, these people have (deliberately) sabotaged the web-page that delivers the temperature records.

Look for yourself:

Go to the page: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/anomalies.php scroll down to the The Global Anomalies and Index Data section and click the download button and see what happens. Well, you get the message:

"Not Found. The requested URL /monitoring-references/faq/anomalies-download was not found on this server."

I guess that the 2017 data must be truly horrible if they have to hide it away.


In reply to by European American

nmewn Mon, 10/16/2017 - 20:50 Permalink

Where's Gov Moonbeam in his "We Are All Dying Here" T-shirt? Its not a real emergency unless Gov Moonbeam appears on camera in a "We Are All Dying Here" T-shirt. 

Stuck on Zero ZD1 Mon, 10/16/2017 - 22:27 Permalink

Word of advice from a lifelong Calironia and fire chief: Shelter in place. Do not jump in your car and try to get away. Hunker down in a bathtub with wet towels all around and wait for the firestorm to pass. Then run out of the house and into the street. Most houses afford about 10-15 minutes of safety before you have to get out.If you jump in the car and try to get away and the firestorm catches you you're incinerated.

In reply to by ZD1

Hulk Mon, 10/16/2017 - 20:58 Permalink

I know I am a broken fucking record on this, but when you mismanage the forests as bad as california has you have this coming. The environmental wackos have created laws that make it a felony to take a twig out of the woods. The forests are a mess. SO thick you cant even walk through them. Taling a dead tree out of the woods is an offense against their liberal soaked minds. I almost came to blows with a forest ranger over this shit years ago. He actually placed his hand on his pistol. These people are out of there minds. Dont understand that the carbon in the tree is taken from the atmosphere. A million acres a year burns in california. Jerry Brown is the biggest polluter in the World...Make no doubt about it, this is reality coming down hard on wrong headed policies...

nmewn Hulk Mon, 10/16/2017 - 21:10 Permalink

But but but...this is San Fran suburbia...they "like their trees" just as they are! And besides burning dead wood releases harmful globull warming smokey stuff into the atmosisphery thingy which means they could drown when their ice cubes get all melty sitting around their pools! ;-)

In reply to by Hulk

nmewn Hulk Mon, 10/16/2017 - 21:27 Permalink

Yeah, we had the same thing here when all the yankees came down full of all their Smokey the Bear "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!" indoctrinated goodness, moved into a subdivision that used to be a planted pine forest on swamp land and then wondered why their house turned into ash.Of course, they didn't take our advice...not that much advice was given ;-) 

In reply to by Hulk

nmewn Hulk Mon, 10/16/2017 - 21:50 Permalink

Now THAT wouldn't surprise me. Sherman was quite keen on "relocating" populations. I suspect that will be his (Moonbeam's) next grand edict..."All Peeplz should live in the cities!"...where he can more effectively tax and control their every movement ;-)

In reply to by Hulk

Hulk MozartIII Mon, 10/16/2017 - 22:08 Permalink

The crazy thing is that san fran is full of section 8 housing occupied by non english speaking chinese nationals paying 600 bucks a month for rent and utilities. You have the working class spending 3 or more hours a day commuting into the city and nobody fucking complains !!! Its all incredibly so stupid...

In reply to by MozartIII

MozartIII Hulk Mon, 10/16/2017 - 22:31 Permalink

The bitch took out the 2 cities close to me that were the bread basket of Georgia. Yes their was one. Then destroyed the Cronwall Furnace twice. Sort of, they still fixed it and it ran after the war. Miniguns and more guerrilla warfare. Sad that it's 2017 and books are finally coming out about the monsters and what they really did.

In reply to by Hulk

European American Hulk Mon, 10/16/2017 - 21:42 Permalink

1910, the US Government actually declared WAR on fire. That's when fire supression began in earnest. When one of the five elements of nature (water, earth, fire, air, aether) is removed from the fold, an imbalance in natually created. So over the last 100 plus years, fuels have built up astronomically. Add to the mix, GeoEngineering.When FIRE is not allowed to maintain balance in the forest, and man fucks up our atmosphere with the tools used in GeoEngineering, well, we get what's happening in California right now.It's the humans that are the invasive species, by trying to control and manipulate the impossible: The Laws of Nature.

In reply to by Hulk

Hongcha Hulk Mon, 10/16/2017 - 21:50 Permalink

I've lived out here since 1986; in the Bay Area since 1990.  I think this ashen open space will wind up as tent cities for the huge homeless population.  I can see Moonbeam, Gavin and Kamala rolling over like West Oakland crack hoes to make their sacred cows as comfortable as possible.  Let's watch...I also think this event will spark a move north (WA, OR) by the well-to-do whites (i.e., tax mules).  Once they get their settlement checks from xyz home inurance, they will think twice before rebuilding in the desolate crater of their former neighborhoods. Especially at prevailing costs.  Think about it.I have every confidence in Sacramento's ability to completely fuck up whatever good options there are ... as they have done nearly 100% of the time.

In reply to by Hulk

Hulk Hongcha Mon, 10/16/2017 - 21:52 Permalink

Further North are the cracktowns, so I see your point on getting out of the state. Unbelieable to see what has become of Lakeport and Clearlake since 1980. Dad moved us out here in 73 and I'm getting ready to move back to Va. Sell in this massive property bubble and get the fuck out of this insane asylum...

In reply to by Hongcha

European American Hongcha Mon, 10/16/2017 - 22:46 Permalink

"Once they get their settlement checks from xyz home inurance, they will think twice before rebuilding in the desolate crater of their former neighborhoods. Especially at prevailing costs.  Think about it." The Problem for those with "FIRE INSURANCE", many insurers REQUIRE that the "new" home be built on the same footprint of the house that got vaporized, regardless if the yard and the neighborhood resembles a "Moonscape".

In reply to by Hongcha

buttmint Hulk Mon, 10/16/2017 - 22:53 Permalink

....same with the US Forest Service's dismal record in the State of New Mexico---why have small, controlled burns in the autumn to reduce the fuel-on-ground factor?Much better to light the fucking FIRESTORM on a windy-ass day in May! The biggest fires are CAUSED by the US Forest Service! Their idea of "FOREST MANAGEMENT" is to light the fucker, burn all, put the forest in lockdown as they retire to their status four-wheel drives, desk jobs and pensions.Face it, any fucker who lights up a "BIG ONE" is just catering to the pyromaniacs that inhabit the USFS. A bunch of fucktards!Los Cochas Fire, Cerro Grande fires---all of them made worse or instigated by the USFS. If things DO COLLAPSE---watch a healthy return of our forests to the locals.Fuck the Feds.

In reply to by Hulk

slyder wood buttmint Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:59 Permalink

Several things. Regarding Cerro Grande, USFS procedures allow for controlled burns even in windy conditions. The fire crew didn’t follow procedure that day. I had friends in Los Alamos who lost their homes. Thinning contracts used to be life blood of rural areas. That funding has been diverted to more war, hence controlled burns. NM actually had more grassland and thinner forests because the grass would dry and burn by lightning. It would kill undergrowth and fire scar old growth - result, healthy forests. Grazing has all but destroyed that natural cycle. Undergrowth has to be managed. Forest service has offered contracts to lumber industry to log out canyons but the industry wants easy access lumber. If you’re a NM native who has been around awhile you know that snowpack in many of the burned areas has been below normal for decades, the springs drier and warmer on average. The Gila NF is probably the ideal model for fire as a natural management tool and they have lost nearly a million acres to fire because of reduced snowpack, high temps and dry windy conditions. the jet stream is moving further north every year. The classic monsoon that I grew up with, towering cumulus and afternoon showers, then clear evenings and nights are almost non existent, replaced by muggy afternoons and an alarming amount of night rains. The blue gramma is stressed and in decline. Yeah, we had an increase in growth due to above average precipitation in the 80s and that added fuel but the entire system is trying to rebalance. It’s not gonna be the forests I grew up in.

In reply to by buttmint

wisefool Mon, 10/16/2017 - 20:54 Permalink

Elon Musk will let the batteries run at 95%.Just like he did during the florida 'canes. evacuations.Yes he is that powerful. Or atleast his masters are ... AlGOREs resort on the seaside was unaffected.

shimmy Mon, 10/16/2017 - 21:00 Permalink

I like the dog surviving.As for the fires, 1871 apparently had the worst fires in recorded U.S history so I am sure the global warming zealots who constantly go on about CO2 levels will somehow tell me how that could be when CO2 was lower then. Funny how most of the extreme weather events and the warmest temperatures happened in the first half of the 20th century or earlier when CO2 was lower. You'd almost think the CO2 excuse they give now for everything weather related is bullshit!