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"We got out ahead of the flames": Creek Fire evacuees hit Central Coast

Posted at 10:09 PM, Sep 07, 2020

California is seeing a record year for wildfires.

More than 200 firefighters from San Luis Obispo County are helping fight some of those fires currently burning throughout California.

"We're seeing extreme fire behavior from the north part of the state of California, down to the south," said Clint Bullard, CAL FIRE SLO Public Information Officer.

One of the largest of those fires, the Creek Fire, near Yosemite National Park has charred more than 135,000 acres. Over the weekend, more than 200 campers were rescued after being trapped and surrounded by flames.

But residents like the Hodges made it out safely and with plenty of warning, escaping to the Central Coast.

"We got out ahead of the flames but the air is thick with smoke and ash falling from the sky," said Greg Hodges.

Monday evening, the flames were a quarter to a half mile away from their home, not far from Shaver Lake.

"We've lived there for 40 something years and we've been evacuated before but we're not all used to it or nothing," Hodges explained.

CAL FIRE says a record breaking 2,000,000+ acres have burned in 2020. The previous high was 1,900,000 acres back in 2018.

Fire officials add that the most striking thing about the record is how early it was set with the most dangerous part of the year ahead.

"We haven't even reached what Southern California usually refers to as their fire season, come Fall, those east winds so we still have a long ways to go," Bullard said.

CAL FIRE wants to remind people to have a plan and be prepared to go at any time. It began tracking acres burned back in 1987.