What started as a last minute trip up to Bass Lake ended up as a last minute departure from Bass Lake! The intent was for Will and I to take advantage of an open camp site and the long Labor Day weekend. We packed the car and drove up to Bass Lake with some friends. We were hoping to get some respite from the heat wave but we parked at the lake and the thermometer still read 105 degrees.
On the drive up we noticed a little plume of smoke on the horizon, a reminder that wildfire season was here. As the afternoon wore on, the smoke grew more pronounced and the sound of helicopters could be heard. By nightfall you could see the eerie glow of flames from a few ridges over. We woke in the morning to find a dusting of ash on everything and temps already climbing through 80 degrees.
It took a minute to figure out why things felt so strange but then it hit us… 8am and no sign of the sun! It was the craziest thing I have seen some time. We decided to pack up and get out of there. Good thing… by 10am the skies had further darkened and we slowly trucked out, headlights blazing. It was hard to stop staring in awe at the Mars-like red sky.
Turns out we had witnessed the start of the Creek Fire (including the helicopter rescue) which would grow to become the fourth largest wildfire in California history, eventually burning some 379,895 acres.