Woman grateful to be alive after fleeing wildfire on I-5 in Shasta County

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A woman who became trapped by the rapidly-spreading Shasta fire says she's grateful to be alive. The New Orleans urban planner caught in Redding spoke with ABC7 on Thursday. (Kate McKesson )

A woman who became trapped by the rapidly-spreading Shasta fire says she's grateful to be alive. The New Orleans urban planner caught in Redding spoke with ABC7 on Thursday.

Kate McKesson went to hell and back on Wednesday, all the while recording her ordeal on I-5 north of Redding.

She tells ABC7 News she kept recording, "Just in case something would go wrong, I wanted it to be on film."

VIDEO: 'I might die here': Videos show drivers escaping wildfire on I-5 in Shasta County near Redding
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Terrifying videos are showing drivers fleeing flames in Shasta County as a wildfire tears through the brush alongside I-5, the only interstate highway that connects Oregon to California.



And so much could have gone wrong.

McKesson was driving a U-Haul, moving her sister's stuff to San Diego, when suddenly, she got boxed in by moving flames and stopped big rigs with nowhere to go.

"When the flames hit and shot up really high, you can see in the video they shoot up right next to me, higher than the trees, they were huge," she said. "The firefighters ran the other direction, full-speed, which is completely terrifying."

It was terrifying for about 10 minutes, before the flames burned through the hillside and firefighters returned.

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That's when a water truck appeared. You can hear her in an Instagram videos saying, "Okay, water spraying right in front of me, thank god. And the smoke is clearing, too."

After that, McKesson kept driving.

She skyped with ABC7 on Thursday from San Bernardino, where she showed us her U-Haul truck that was intact, except for some minor charring on the tires.

She says the whole ordeal has added to her understanding of wildfires, and will help her in her contract job with the state of California developing a wildfire action plan.

Get the latest stories and videos on wildfires burning across California, here.

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