If you live in California anywhere near flames, don’t depend on an evacuation order to save you. The order may never come.

The following video Heading toward Middletown on through Valley Fire shows the last three cars to escape the inferno.

Lots of people are viewing this so it could play slow.

Had any tree or electrical pole fallen into the street they would have been trapped.

Discussing the Video

The Guardian has a condensed video and comments from the family in its report Mother Talks about Son’s Viral California Wildfire Video.

Julie Wolf was two cars behind her son when he filmed their infamous escape from an explosive wildfire in Anderson Springs, California. She is the only member of the three-car convoy to speak out about footage that has gone viral, after providing a window into the dramatic blaze ravaging the state.

The video, now viewed by over 1.6 million people on YouTube, shows the terrifying escape her family made through flame-consumed woods on 12 September. “Oh my God,” her son muttered as he navigated through the inferno.

Wolf said she was “too busy being terrified” during the drive, but her son, who does not want to be named, shot the video.

As of Thursday, the Valley fire has incinerated 73,700 acres and is 35% contained. Wolf said she didn’t know the fire was so close until her son pulled into her driveway to drop off a small, electric trailer.

“When my son drove into the property, he had seen the smoke. He didn’t see fire, but he saw smoke,” she said. “And he said it’s right up the hill from you and I think you should start packing.”

A mandatory evacuation was issued by authorities at 4pm – several hours before they left.

She said they never received the order to evacuate. Wolf was expecting a phone call from the fire department, who she said had a “system in place to call everybody for evacuation situations”.

At one point, her son hit something, cracking the windshield, tearing away the passenger side headlight, and crushing the quarter panel. But the van was “so big and heavy so it just powered through”.

“If we had reversed the order of the cars, somebody could be horribly hurt or we could have all hit each other,” Wolf said. “We had an enormous amount of luck getting out of there.”

Helping Out

The family set up a GoFundMe page Lost everything in #ValleyFire for those interested in helping.

We barely escaped, but we are happy to be alive. She does not have insurance. Because her job involved working on the homes in the community, she no longer has work.

We are setting up this campaign to gather funds to support the loss of income, start rebuilding the house, restocking essentials like food, supplies, clothes, and furniture.

We will be returning as soon as we are able to, to help clear the roads and help the town.

We have really appreciated our friends’ and family’s offers for support during this difficult time. We set this up to give our greater community somewhere they could make a difference for someone they know and care about.  Everyone’s contributions mean so very much. 

Thank you.

P.S. Julie’s favorite numbers are 7 and 12. Even if you can only donate $7, it will help rebuild the house, one nail at a time.

Here is the donation page. I made a contribution.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock