Jeremy Remington was camping with his family when the California Creek Fire began surrounding him and fellow campers. Smoke filled the air and cellphone service was non-existent. “We all thought we were goners,” Remington tells CNN.
Remington explains that as the fire closed in, the only option for escape seemed to be by boat. He and the family hopped in his brother’s boat, motoring to the other side of the lake. Still not to guaranteed safety, the large family joined other stranded campers. With no cellphone service to call for help or reach out to other campers, stress for survival heightened. “There was no word. Talking with other people who were stranded, no one heard anything,” Remington tellls CNN.
That evening, he recorded his view of the surrounding fire. Remington explains he was sure they wouldn’t survive the impending fire but remained as calm as possible for the kids. He explains to CNN, “We tried to keep it together as best we could … especially for the young kids, and just for other people around and their children.”
The frantic campers then heard the potential of safety above: a helicopter. The crew of people started frantically waving their flashlights and shining the hazards on their cars to catch the helicopter’s attention. They were finally noticed, and the helicopter dipped down. “Everyone was screaming, jumping, yelling, hugging,” he recalls. “It was one of the best feelings in my life.”
CNN reports it took several helicopter trips to evacuate the near 220 people from the Sierra National Forest‘s Mammoth Pool Reservoir.
Remington told CNN that his family is now doing OK. “You can’t describe it unless you have been in that situation,” he says. “Like, you’re going to die, and then all of a sudden you’re not. It’s just an amazing feeling.”