Bay Area residents react to fast-moving brush fire that jumped interstate: 'Scariest thing I've ever seen'

Video shows the charred hillsides and helicopters dropping massive doses of fire retardant in the area.

ByJ.R. Stone KGO logo
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Vacaville resident calls wildfire 'scariest thing I've ever seen'
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A fire that jumped Interstate 80 in Solano County, closing the freeway and prompting evacuations has residents rattled as it has now burned more than 46,000 acres.

FAIRFIELD, Calif. -- A quick-moving brush fire burning alongside Interstate 80 in the Bay Area on Wednesday evening forced the closure of roadways between Fairfield and Vacaville as evacuations were ordered in the area.

Just before 9 p.m., CalTrans tweeted the interstate had reopened at Air Base Parkway in Fairfield, but Solano County continued to burn into the evening as firefighters battled the LNU Lightning Complex Fire.

Large-scale evacuations are in place in Vacaville and Fairfield. An estimated 46,225 acres have burned in Solano County with 0% containment according to officials. Travis Air Force Base has even issued mandatory evacuations for non-essential personnel.

Flames could be seen shooting into the air late Wednesday night as a structure burned on Cherry Glen Road in Vacaville. It doesn't appear as though anyone was hurt but the fire in this rural area has been intense.

"It was the scariest thing I've ever seen. The heat and it came so fast," said Stacey Cline. Cline lives a mile or so down the road from this location.

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Her home didn't burn, but a second home in the area did and the damage is intense -- It's hard to make out much of anything.

"I'm just very grateful, very grateful to my husband and his three friends. They're the ones that fought this fire today," said Cline.

While it was Stacey's husband and friends who saved their home, it was firefighters battling along the hills in Fairfield. Ben Jandreau shot video of an air tanker dropping fire retardant in hopes of saving his home and others in the area. "We're hoping and praying that it's going to work out," said Jandreau.

So far so good in their Rolling Hills neighborhood but the fire spread across I-80 threatening more homes in the Paradise Valley neighborhood of Fairfield. In fact one fire began burning in the center divider of I-80 leaving clouds of smoke and miles of backups as the Interstate closed.

"I live in Vacaville, just trying to get home from work in Vallejo," said Kristian Violette.

Frustrating, yes, but talk to most of these evacuees and they'll tell you they are thankful for one reason or another. Those like Stacey Cline who are feeling a sense of relief even as the fire continues to cause problems.

"They did this, they saved it," she said. "I have a home now still!"