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Just minutes from Paradise to Inferno


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Hi everyone. I am home at last after the most frightening experience that I have had in quite some time. It all began Saturday afternoon at around 2:30.

I had spent the whole morning cleaning my car so it would be ready to start my new job this week. I knew that I would be transporting clients so wanted my car clean. I had been watching for smoke because so many fires were burning and the smoke had been very bad. I was hoping it wouldn't ruin my clean car.

I had decided to take a short nap then remembered my dishwasher was full. I walked to my dishwasher and bent to open the door. As I bent everything turned dark and I saw an orange glow. When I looked over my shoulder toward the widow the whole mountain top was on fire.

I started grabing my pictures and my important papers then a couple of Johnny's things. By then the fire had jumped from one section to another even closer. I took Misty and left toward my nieces. The fire was between us and the main road out. As I was leaving the park the Sherriffs were arriving making everyone leave. For some stupid reason I stopped at the post office to check my mail. The wind was blowing like a whirl wind by then and I could feel the heat. The sky was that sickly orange color.

By the time I got to my nieces house three miles up the road other cars were behind me. Some stopped and told me that the park here was burning. Not ten minutes later the town was on fire. /The smoke got worse and I was hurrying my niece to leave. Her and her family started packing and the smoke was just getting thicker and thicker. Finally the Sherriffs came and told us to leave. Sense we couldn't come back this way toward the fire we had to go up the mountain.

The whole town escaped driving up a narrow often times gravel road that twisted and turned up to the mountain peak. It took us nearly 4 hours to go that 45 miles. The whole way I was praying that another fire didn't start on that end and trap us all. We finally reached the center to register only to learn that we had to go another 30 miles to Wevervillle to spend the night in a shelter there. By then we had been told that the whold park here had burned. I expected that I would have nothing left to come home to. We also learned that most of the houses in town burned but all but one of the historical buildings were saved. The church across from me was saved too. The next morning we were told that center would close and we would have to drive down to Redding. That road was just as bad or worse than the one up the mountain. Only difference is that it is paved so we could go faster. When we got almost to the French Gulch turn off the fire met us at the highway. There were a number of fire trucks there and not long after we passed the closed the hiway.

Once at the center in Redding I met my next door neighbor. He had came about 4 in the morning from Oregon and a deputy brought him in to see his home. He had also seen that mine was safe.

So 7 of us (my niece and her family) and 3 dogs and a cat spent 4 nights in a motel. Today around 11 I got home. Thanks to SBC and PG&E there is already power and phone service here. Seeing how close the fire came has left me not only in shock but feeling very humble and thankful. Of 60 mobile homes only 2 burned. My neighbors less than 50 feet away had fire up to their back doors but their homes were saved. One small spot in my yard burned but there is not much grass and I had watered my flowers the night before so the run off had left the ground wet. I believe that is why my home was spared. I have to thank the firemen. It took horoic effert for 5 trucks to save this park.

The beautiful tress on the mountains are almost all gone. It looks like a moon scape here all around us. Our beautiful little town was nearly gutted but it is still standing in some places. The Red Cross and the Fire departments are doing an outstanding job helping us. I had left with no clothes and they gave me money to buy clothes and to replace the spoilage from my refridgerator and freezer. I will be okay. I am just very emotinal about all I have seen. The goodness of so many people has come through. My neighbors all looked for me and looked out for me. I have so much to be thankful for. I hope soon to catch up with the happenings on the board. For now I have a lot of cleaning to do. I will do it with a thankful heart. Lillian

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Having just gone through a similar experience with last years Cedar fire down here in Alpine (although by the time we were told to evacuate there was no way TO evacuate with all the roads closed) all I can say is that I've been thinking about you all week and am VERY glad to hear you are safe and that your home was spared.


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I'm glad you are okay and that your home is fine.

As I was reading your story, it reminded me of how sometimes life is unable to be planned. Crazy things happen when our lives seem to be as crazy as we think they will get.

Again, glad you are safe!


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So glad to hear you are OK Lilly and the house. I can not imagine the worry and fear you had. Things like this remind me that not all is bad.

I hope everything returns to normal around there very soon

Will this effect your new job in anyway?

God Bless


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So glad you (and your house) are fine. We read about and see information on those fires back here in the East but it's hard to imagine what it's like to be in the midst of it all. You certainly provided that for us!

Puts everything into perspective, somehow!


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I am so thankful you are okay. I was thinking of you when I heard about the fires out your way and I knew where you were. I was just hoping you would be alright. Thank God you are. The trees will grow and it will be green again before you know it. Amazing how life is. It changes and with it, so do we.

Much love,


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