Irving Fire: Close call yields valuable lessons in Marin County

LAGUNITAS, Calif. (KGO) -- There are a couple twists in the road and dots on the map and, by the standard of fire in California this summer, residents of Lagunitas and Forest Knolls are counting their good luck.

"It's not that bad, but terrifying," said Denise DelColletto. "I never saw anything so close."

RELATED: Evacuations lifted for Irving Fire in Marin County

So close, and yet so far away -- just over a ridge in Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

The Irving Fire has yet to burn 200 acres. Cal Fire last reported 35 percent containment. Monday night, however, it seemed a force of nature.

"It was scary," said evacuee Wendy Robinson. "At 6 o'clock, I could smell smoke and then we lost power totally at around 9 p.m."

While smallish, the Irving Fire is a type that residents worry about in regions with one-lane roads and plenty of dry brush. They're describing this experience as a wake-up call.

"I knew if anything got going, I would have to get out of here really fast," said Rosie Echelmeier as she continued packing her car, despite the fact that Cal Fire had lifted her mandatory evacuation. She wants to be ready. "This won't make me move but I will trim my property back a little more."

Or maybe stash some extra water. Tom Fetherston did -- 25,000 gallons worth in two tanks.

His best laid plans did not work when the power to his pumps failed. "Now I need something with a generator and pump attached," he said.

It's the price of living surrounded by wilderness in California these days.

Lessons learned -- and around here, the easier way.

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