Carr Fire Shasta County

Twitter User Katana Martina @katanamartina/CalFire

Escape From The Carr Fire

Evacuee Describes 'Scary' Flight From Home

KCBS Radio Morning News
July 27, 2018 - 10:39 am

Tens of thousands of people in the city of Redding and the surrounding areas were forced to flee their homes on Thursday night as flames from a massive wildfire roared in their direction.

The Carr Fire started on Monday at French Gulch and exploded on Thursday night after a day in which temperatures soared into triple digits. CalFire said Friday morning that the fire had tripled in size. Half the city of Redding had been evacuated, as well as the city of Shasta Lake. 

Lisa Vierra lives in rural Shasta County, on the northwest side of Redding, about 10 to 15 miles where the fire broke out. She and her husband had been packing in case they were ordered to evacuate. They fled to a friend's home when they lost electricity. 

"That'w when we decided to get out of there," said Vierra on KCBS Radio. "We coldn't stay. It was too hot."

The short drive to their friend's house on the other side of Redding took 90 minuts. The highway "was backed up for miles," Vierra said. "We were basically sitting on I-5."

In the rush to escape, they had to leave behind one of their cats. "We managed to take our inside cat, but we were not able to bring our outside cat. We could not find her," she said. 

Texting and Facebook messenger have helped Vierra stay in touch with friends and family members. She's been in touch with her adult daughter who also had to evacuate. 

Despite the emergency, Vierra still planned to go to work on Friday in Redding's courthouse. 

When KCBS Radio spoke to Vierra Friday morning, she was getting ready to go to work at the courthouse in Redding. She didn't know what to expect.

"It's very scary," she said. 

Air quality in the area is "horrible. Ash is falling, it's blanketing our cars and patios," said Vierra. "It's a mess."

Vierra didn't know how long she'd have to stay in her friend's home. "Until we know if our house is standing, we don't have any idea," she said.

Two people have been killed on the firelines. One was a bulldozer operator, who died Thursday. The death of a Redding city firefighter was confirmed on Friday. 

CalFire officials said Friday that 65 buildings had been destroyed by the fire. They could not say how many of those buildings were homes.

Written by: Diana Shook