Five people are now confirmed dead while trying to evacuate. If you're anywhere near this blaze, leave now.
Friends, we love to talk about cars. We love bringing you the latest spy photos of secret test cars, and cool drag racing videos, and crazy project vehicles, and the latest automaker news. We absolutely don’t love bringing information like this, but news is news. And perhaps seeing this story and learning about this terrible disaster can help others be prepared in case the unthinkable happens. We so desperately hope this doesn’t happen to anyone, ever again.
If you’ve missed the main news outlets over the last day, there’s a massive wildfire burning right now in Northern California. It’s being called the Camp Fire, and this one is particularly dangerous because it’s spreading extremely fast. In just one day it’s grown to over 70,000 acres – 110 square miles – and it’s wiped the town of Paradise off the map. The Associated Press offers a bit more info but this blaze is spreading so quickly, firefighters literally don’t even have time to try and fight it. They’ve been in rescue mode, which is no easy task because Paradise had a population of 30,000 people.
The flames are moving so fast that people are struggling to simply run away. The above video comes from a Facebook post that went up yesterday from Paradise resident Brynn Parrott Chatfield as she escaped the blaze with her family. We want to share that post as well, because her words are touching, tragic, and inspirational. Brynn, if you should happen to read this, thank you for your courage to not just capture this moment on camera, but for sharing it with others.
Yes, it's dramatic, but should any of you face such an emergency, please consider this an example of how to survive. Keeping calm and focused can mean the difference between life and death.
There’s another important reason we’re bringing you this story, and that’s to implore everyone out there to set up an escape plan for natural disasters. Don't take this for granted – unless you live in a converted nuclear missile silo, there’s always the possibility that Mother Nature could turn mean. Put together an emergency bag of supplies and have it near the door. Set up a plan with all your family members on a couple meeting locations in case you’re separated. Establish primary and alternate escape routes ahead of time. And please, do not leave your pets behind. They rely on you – never let them down.
These are all things that can be set up in just an hour. It’s quite likely you may never have to implement the plan, and that would be wonderful. If the unthinkable does happen, however, this hour of preparation may save the lives of you and your loved ones.
In her post, Chatfield says her family is evacuated and safe. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for others. While writing this article we’ve learned that the fire has evolved from dangerous to deadly, killing five people in their cars while trying to evacuate. Our deepest thoughts and condolences are with the victims and their families, and with everyone affected by this fire and others burning in California. Stay calm, stay focused, and stay safe.