As the Kincade Fire rages on in northern California, one firefighter went the extra mile to protect evacuees.
A firefighter working near Geyserville used his personal fire shelter to shield two people from being caught in the flames on Friday night, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A fire shelter is a safety device carried by firefighters that is only meant to be used as a last resort.
Cal Fire said the firefighter and the two residents were all expected to live, The Chronicle reported. The three unidentified people were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the newspaper.
“While working on an active portion of the fire, the firefighter came across two civilians who were attempting to evacuate from the fire when fire activity intensified,” officials said, according to the Chronicle. “At that point the firefighter was forced to deploy his fire shelter, where he shielded them from fire.”
Fire shelters are made out of aluminum foil, silica and fiberglass, and resemble a blanket. When safely underneath it, the shelter can protect from short-lived flames, reflect heat and trap breathable air inside.
On Sunday, California’s governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency due to rapidly growing wildfires, which include the Kincade Fire north of San Francisco as well as more than a dozen smaller active fires throughout the state, according to The New York Times.
In a tweet, Newsom urged residents to “stay safe, alert, and heed all warnings from local officials,” and shared information about evacuation shelters.
“We’re deploying every resource available as we continue to respond to these fires and unprecedented high-winds,” Newsom said.
I have declared a statewide emergency.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) October 27, 2019
We’re deploying every resource available as we continue to respond to these fires and unprecedented high-winds.
If you live in an affected area, please stay safe, alert, and heed all warnings from local officials. https://t.co/w0Ft19lR3j
The Times reported that more than 180,000 people in the Bay Area have been ordered to evacuate as of Sunday afternoon.
“Approx 180,000 people under evacuation order due to #KincadeFire,” the sheriff’s office for Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, tweeted on Sunday morning. “This is the largest evacuation that any of us at the Sheriff’s Office can remember. Take care of each other.”
Approx 180,000 people under evacuation order due to #KincadeFire. This is the largest evacuation that any of us at the Sheriff’s Office can remember. Take care of each other.— Sonoma Sheriff (@sonomasheriff) October 27, 2019
According to the Times, the Kincade Fire began late Wednesday night.
So far, the flames have destroyed 79 buildings, including 31 homes, but no serious injuries have been reported as of Sunday afternoon.