A California wildfire chased cars uphill, terrifying drivers and scorching about 3,500 acres in the process. The massive amount of acreage was destroyed in just four hours on Friday. Drivers and their passengers held their breath as they raced uphill away from the growing orange flames and black smoke swirling behind them.
The wildfire, which chased the cars uphill along Interstate 15 in San Bernardino County, were stopped in Cajon Pass due to mounting gridlock. Panicked drivers soon realized that attempting to drive off road to escape the California fire was not an option.
Drones Delay Efforts to Fight California Wildfire http://t.co/XIBtETuSeI
— Jack Clayton (@JackClayton617) July 18, 2015
“So, we ran off. We only got our purses and stuff,” Neha Shresha said after escaping the wildfire. Shresha lost her vehicle in the wildfire and walked off the hill with her father to call a relative for a ride home.
— CNN (@CNN) July 18, 2015
Talia Sclafani was also stranded on Cajon Pass. She was inside a van with her soccer team when the flames began chasing vehicles up the hill. Sclafani recalled hearing police officers shouting for drivers and passengers to stay in their vehicles over a loud speaker. By the time the warning was issued, Sclafani and her team had already abandoned the hill and ran the rest of the way up the hill in the 95-degree heat the county was experiencing that day. Sclafani and her team remained on the hill waiting for help for about three hours.
“There were lots of people crying. Some were vomiting. People were really frightened,” the soccer player said.
Vehicles on Cajon Pass were reportedly backed up for “dozens of yards” and the traffic were four lanes thick. The wildfire chasing cars uphill ultimately consumed 20 vehicles completely and a total of 10 partially, according to the state firefighting authority CALFIRE.
— CNN (@CNN) July 18, 2015
The California wildfire, called North Fire, was fought by approximately 1,000 firefighters, four water trucks, 22 engines, seven airplanes, three helicopters, and a bulldozer. After the flames of the blaze were extinguished or moved past the Cajon Pass area, concerned motorists filtered back to the area to check on their vehicles.
— AJE News (@AJENews) July 18, 2015
Only parts of Interstate 15 where the California wildfire chased cars uphill was reopened by dawn on Saturday. During the early morning hours, fire officials deemed the monstrous wildfire “5 percent contained.” No injuries have been reported due to the destruction caused by the North Fire. In a nearby mountain area, a smaller fire caused San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies to evacuate 90 Girl Scouts from a campground.
The ongoing California drought is expected to cause a busier than normal wildfire season in the region this summer, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
— Ted Nguyen (@TedNguyen) July 18, 2015
Emergency officials grew concerned about private drones flying in the area as they attempted to curtail the wildfire.
“Please stop flying hobby drones in the area. We can’t risk the choppers colliding with them. We could have loss of life,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Gerrelaine Alcordo said.
[Image via: Twitter]