(TNS) — Before the flames appeared, Sandie Freeman thought the sky above her Redding home looked especially beautiful.
The evening was golden hued and still; pretty enough that she took a picture. Minutes later, a light wind picked up and leaves from her oak tree began falling like rain, she said.
It was the only warning she received that something was amiss.
The breeze turned into heavy gusts, then a roar that sounded “like a locomotive in your front yard,” she said. The Carr Fire shot up behind the house across the street, leaving her and her husband mere minutes to grab their dogs and make a dash for the road, only to find a line of cars stuck in a slow-motion crawl to safety.
A family of deer with three fawns came up to her car bumper. A long-time animal rescuer, she tried to think of a way to save them. But she didn’t know if she was even going to save herself.