HomeOutdoors14-Year-Old Learns to Drive to Help Family Escape California Wildfires

14-Year-Old Learns to Drive to Help Family Escape California Wildfires

by Halle Ames
(Photo Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN / Contributor/ Getty Images)

A 14-year-old boy got an education on driving as he drove his family away from the California Creek Fire and to safety.

Ruben Navarrete is a hero after he drove his disabled brother away from the Creek Fire, as it inches closer to the Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians. The Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians is a Native American reservation in Fresno County, California.

After news to evacuate came on Monday, Navarrete, his uncle, and his aunt all drove cars to save their belongings so the state’s wildfires could not swallow them in the flames as well.

Navarrete’s aunt led the caravan in a Kia SUV. She was followed by Navarrete, who drove a Chevrolet while his brother accompanied him. Finally, his uncle brought up the end in a pickup truck.

“When it came down to when I had to drive, I was really nervous, scared,” Navarrete admitted

His uncle described driving to the boy “like a video game”.

The flames were coming at such a pace that it felt like they were gaining on the retreating family. However, Navarrete said, “I didn’t want to look because I was so focused, I didn’t want to crash or anything.”

The boy only started to feel comfortable behind the wheel halfway through the 20-mile trek.

His aunt didn’t feel the same way. She gave her inexperienced nephew a crash course on driving.

“All he had ever driven was about a quarter-mile from our home. “It was really nerve-racking for all of us.”

The family is staying in a hotel in Clovis during this time. The American Red Cross has designated 1,200 hotel rooms for those evacuating wildfires.

Wildfires Across California

The Creek Fire has already burned over 175,000 acres, while only being 6 percent contained, says Cal Fire.

According to The Los Angeles Times, there are currently 45 active fires across the state, in addition to the Creek Fire.

[H/T Newsweek]