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    Posted August 24, 2015 by
    lauralove1
    Location
    Okanogan, Washington
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Wildfires blazing near you

    Caught in a Wildfire

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     The Okanogan Complex wildfire now the biggest in Washington state's history. Laura Jones shares an emotional few moments driving just feet from the fire on August 20. She said she was allowed to go back and check on her house, but admits it was a bad idea. She shared this video as a lesson for other people to understand how serious wildfires can be. "I thought I was filming my own death, and if I did live through it, I had this as an example for people of what not to do."

    A note: CNN iReport does not encourage filming in dangerous situations.

    Jeff Adamson, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation, said that in this case, at the direction of Okanogan County, the department's maintenance crew allowed no through-traffic but residents with proper ID could enter at their own risk to check on their residences or their animals. He said the crewmembers at the barricade had no idea what the specific conditions were beyond what they could see over their shoulders, "and frankly, no one could ever predict if, when, or where a wind gust will cause a fire to jump a highway. I’m just very thankful the woman was apparently unhurt."
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    I screwed up and got trapped in the Okanogan Complex wildfire which is very close to my home. I was driving to Okanogan after checking on my home to see if it was still standing and suddenly there were flames on all sides of me. From out of nowhere this angel Firefighter appeared and said he'd guide me through. As we approached the flames that were billowing across the road, I could see him throwing his truck in reverse and he began rapidly backing up toward me. I threw my car into reverse too, even though I knew there were also flames on the road behind us and we both retreated as fast as we could. I was terrified and shaking and crying and thought I was going to die. We got to a narrow gap where there were no flames and he stopped to get on his radio. He yelled back at me to hang on while I tried to not get hysterical. The winds were huge, smoke and ash were blowing onto us and visibility was horrible. I was panicking because I believed the fire was going to catch us in a pickle and envelop us. I cannot think of a worse way to die. My USFS angel told me to roll up my windows and go through the flames as fast as I could. He said it was clear on the other side and we had to do it. I've never been so afraid in my whole life. I didn't even catch his hame or get to thank him as he had to rush on to another hot spot after guiding me out. This man was my hero and I credit him for saving my life today.

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