FRESNO (CBSLA) — A North Hollywood mother and her children were caught up in the explosive fire that spread through Fresno County over Labor Day weekend.
The Creek Fire has exploded to 78,790 acres in the two days since it has been active. It jumped a river and cut off the only road out of the Mammoth Pool Reservoir in the Sierra National Forest, trapping many campers.
“When people ask me, I tell them I experienced hell on Earth,” said North Hollywood resident Heidi Orellana.
Orellana said she feared the worst and believed the fire would take her life.
“There were a lot of people that needed help, people were getting burned, cars were jammed,” she said. “We got containers, plastic containers and we started putting water to the cars so the cars wouldn’t get on fire.”
Over 150 people spent about an hour in the reservoir to escape the growing flames. At least two people were seriously injured.
A military helicopter finally landed in the middle of the inferno to rescue the people waiting.
“My kids didn’t want to go without me,” Orellano said. “They got to a point, they thought that if we were going to die, we should die together.”
Authorities say half the town of Big Creek in Fresno County was destroyed by the fire, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for the region.