Buck Fire Injures Five, Grows Nearly 3,000 Acres
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
UPDATE - Cal Fire is lifting the mandatory evacuation order as of six Wednesday night.. The evacuation center will also be shut down at six
Hundreds of firefighters continue to battle a nearly 3,000 acre wildfire in the San Jacinto foothills above the Coachella Valley.
Firefighters made some progress overnight against the Buck Fire near Aguanga.
Wednesday they determined the fire was sparked by lightning when a thunderstorm moved over the area earlier this week.
Sage resident, William Tice, lives just across the road from where the fire's path was halted.
"It was running like a freight train from the getgo, it was just a big, black tower of smoke," said Tice.
Firefighters gave William an evacuation order, he chose to stay.
But there was a moment as the fast-moving fire raced towards his home that William almost left.
"It got right there, that's about the time I freaked out and I started throwing all the computer stuff in the back of my truck and getting ready if I have to go, I go, but I wait until the very last second," said Tice.
Unfortunately, his neighbor across the street suffered serious burns and was flown to the hospital in critical condition.
"He thought he was safe because he had it pretty well cleared, but he was right in front of that freight train, and there's no way with those kind of temperatures that even somebody with a big cleared spot like me, believe me, if it had been coming at me, I wouldn't have been here," said Tice.
His neighbor's home and cannabis farm still stand, but the entire valley surrounding it still smolders, a gray wasteland.
Four others suffered minor injuries, including three firefighters.
More than 400 firefighters battled the blaze by ground and by air.
"It kind of went that way since, so the moment it took off and went that way, and the firemen left I thought, hey, we're fine here," said Tice.
The blaze is getting contained, but not before forcing dozens of evacuations and causing serious destruction.