What would you do if faced with a raging wildfire, a traffic jam, and the choice between grabbing your pet and running or staying with your personal belongings? For one California woman it wasn’t much of a choice. She grabbed her bike, emptied out a duffel bag, and had her 70-pound dog hop in as they rode away to safety.
And while she lost her home, her car, and most of her personal belongings, she is just glad that she still has her dog and her life. Here is the tale of their hectic journey as her and her pet sought to escape a California wildfire.
The Wildfire Gets Dangerous
A student at a college in Santa Rosa, California, Natasha Wallace first knew something was wrong when she noticed fires raging along the freeway on her way home from classes. Fearing for her life, she grabbed what she could and through it in her car. She also grabbed her dog Bentley. Before long they were on their way out of danger, but they didn’t make it far.
Traffic Halts Their Escape
Soon, they were caught up in a traffic jam as other residents sought to escape the flames of the wildfire along the same route she was taking. Not even giving it a second thought, Wallace grabbed her bicycle and emptied out a duffle bag. She then called to Bentley who jumped into the bag, all 70 pounds of him.
They Rode Away on Her Bike
Leaving all of her physical items behind, Wallace and Buckley rode like crazy, as, according to Wallace, she pedaled with “supermom strength,” making it about two miles away from the fire before stopping. From there, they hitched a ride with a passing trucker to safety. For his part, Bentley, he remained calm throughout the whole journey.
They Lost Everything
Like many during recent California wildfires, Wallace lost everything, including her home and personal possessions. Fortunately, Wallace has relatives who she has been able to stay with while she recovers from the fire. Right now her goal is simply to find a new home for her and Bentley.
What to Do if You are Caught in a Wildfire
If you live in California or another area prone to wildfires, knowing what to do when one strikes can mean the difference between life and death. The most important thing to remember is that if local or state authorities issue an evacuation order, you should follow it.
If you ever find yourself trapped while in your vehicle during a wildfire, take these steps:
- Park in an area free of vegetation.
- Close all of the doors and windows.
- Cover yourself and your family with a thick blanket or jacket.
- Lie on the floor of the vehicle.
- Use your cell phone to call 911 for help.
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The most important thing you can do in any situation when dealing with a wildfire is not to panic. If you find yourself on foot and trapped during a wildfire look for an area of little vegetation, lie face down, and cover your body. If you have a cell phone, use it to call 911 for help.