Doorbell camera captures California family’s harrowing escape from wildfire

WATCH ABOVE: Doorbell video shows California family evacuating home as wildfire moves in.

It was a hectic and terrifying few minutes for one California family as they raced to pack up their belongings and escape the enormous wildfire looming in the hills behind their Canyon County home.

In dramatic footage captured on the family’s Ring doorbell camera, Becky Ibarra and her two children raced to pack belongings into their SUV as the flames become larger, more threatening in the background.

In the video, Ibarra can be seen quickly but calmly loading the family’s items into the car, directing her children to do the same, before an unnamed man nearby warns that they need to evacuate immediately.

READ MORE: California declares state of emergency over wildfires, at least 94 structures destroyed

“The sky was black, so I knew it was coming quick and I wanted to get out of there,” Ibarra told KTLA5 News.

She said while the experience was “nerve-wracking,” she was “just trying to stay calm for the kids.”

Story continues below advertisement
Officials say progress made on Tick Fire to allow for repopulation of some areas
Officials say progress made on Tick Fire to allow for repopulation of some areas

Ibarra said once she and her children were safely in the car, she drove two houses down to try to rescue their neighbour’s dog.

“It was just a matter of ‘how fast can I get out of here, is the dog going to come to me’. I was yelling her name through the doggy door,” she said.

“I knew they weren’t going to make it home in time to get their dog, and at least their pet would be safe.”

Tweet This

Ibarra said she loaded the neighbour’s dog in the backseat with her children and their own dog, and headed for a hotel.

READ MORE: In photos — Firefighters battle wildfires in California

Her husband, Ben Ibarra was at work when news of the fire broke. He told KTLA5 News that he was rushing home to help but was barred from entering the neighborhood.

“It was frustrating because as bad as I wanted to be here, I couldn’t,” he said. “My wife did an amazing job packing everything up and keeping everybody calm.”

Residents should be ‘infuriated’: Gavin Newsom on PG&E equipment sparking fire
Residents should be ‘infuriated’: Gavin Newsom on PG&E equipment sparking fire

By Friday the fire around their home died down, and Ben was able to return to survey the damage. Luckily, their home was untouched.

Story continues below advertisement

The same, however, cannot be said for all 50,000 people who have been displaced by evacuation orders in an around the Santa Clarita area.

“I can’t describe the feeling of knowing that everything’s fine for us, because I feel so heartbroken inside for all the other people that aren’t as fortunate,” Becky Ibarra said.

READ MORE: Millions in California to lose power as fire danger remains high

On Thursday the fire destroyed six homes in the area.

To the north, firefighters raced to make progress against a blaze near Geyserville in Sonoma County before ferocious “diablo winds” returned. The fire had burned 49 buildings, including 21 homes, and swept through nearly 104 square kilometers of the wine-growing region.

It was 10 per cent contained by Saturday morning.

California officials warning about ‘historic’ wind event as wildfires continue
California officials warning about ‘historic’ wind event as wildfires continue

Several thousand people living in small communities in neighboring Lake County were also warned to be ready to evacuate. The area was the scene of a 2015 wildfire that killed four people and burned nearly 2,000 homes and other buildings.

And, high winds around 137 km/h this weekend could ground water-dropping aircraft, disperse fire retardant and drive hot embers far ahead of the flames to set new blazes, Cal Fire Division Chief Jonathan Cox warned.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: California utility firm admits electrical equipment may have sparked wildfire

Andre Vesey, CEO of Pacific Gas and Electric Co., said during a briefing on Friday that with the high winds and bone-dry humidity, these places have “effectively become tinderboxes.”

“Any spark, from any source, can lead to catastrophic results,” he said. “We do not want to become one of those sources.”

Fast-moving ‘Kincade’ wildfire scorches Northern California
Fast-moving ‘Kincade’ wildfire scorches Northern California

On Saturday, PG&E announced it would be going forward with the second planned power shut-off this week.

The utility says blackouts will begin around 2 p.m. Saturday in parts of 36 counties. About 940,000 customers — more than 2 million people — will be affected.

—With files from The Associated Press