Video shows terrifying escape through flames of LNU Lightning Complex fires

Alix Martichoux Image
ByAlix Martichoux KGO logo
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Video shows terrifying escape through flames of NorCal fire
As if the call to evacuate wasn't scary enough, the road out was harrowing. One evacuee in Winters, Calif. recorded this as he drove through the fire while evacuating.

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area man forced to evacuate his home as the LNU Lightning Complex fires raged overnight found himself on a terrifying escape route.

HENNESSEY FIRE: Evacuations ordered in Vacaville as wildfire destroys dozens of homes

Matt Thomas recorded the video as he evacuated his home in Winters, Calif., which is on the Solano County and Yolo County border. The LNU Lightning fires that started in Napa County spread east overnight, leading Thomas to evacuate around 12:30 a.m.

As if the call to evacuate wasn't frightening enough, the journey out was harrowing. The video shows Thomas driving on Digger Pine Ridge Road, flames surrounding his truck and wind blowing embers over the hood of the car.

The heat on that drive was so intense, it melted the truck's taillights.

A fire evacuee
A fire evacuee's taillight was melted as he drove through a fiery road to evacuate his home in Winters, Calif. on Aug. 19, 2020.
Matt Thomas

Thomas said it took about 10 to 15 minutes to get off the hill and away from the fire. He made it out safely, but isn't sure about the condition of his home or property.

Here's another view of the driver further down Digger Pine Ridge Road near Winters, Calif.

The LNU Lightning Complex, which contains the Hennessey, Gamble and 15-10 fires, has burned 46,000 acres as of Monday afternoon.

CAL FIRE confirmed 50 structures have been damaged and 50 have been destroyed, though they suspect that number to grow much higher as they continue to assess the damage.

RELATED: Bay Area family describes terror as wildfire inched closer

"Firefighting resources are depleted as new fires continue to ignite," said CAL FIRE division chief Jeremy Rahn in a press conference Wednesday.

If you're in a fire zone and hear sheriff's deputies in the neighborhood blaring a hi-lo siren, that means it's time to evacuate immediately. We're tracking the latest on all the Bay Area fires and evacuation areas here.

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