Campers in California’s Sierra National Forest were surprised by a fast-moving wildfire, nicknamed Creek Fire, late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The fire cut off the only road into the Mammoth Pool Campground.
Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters were used to bring more that 220 campers to safety. About 20 people were injured, but only two of those victims had severe injuries, AP reports.
The California National Guard and Naval Air Station Lemoore helped at the request of the Madera County Sheriff Department, The California Office of Emergency Services noted. The Cal OES also shared a video showing the conditions of the fire.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), aircrafts reported smoke reaching as high as 50,000 feet.
General Daniel Hokanson, the 29th Chief of the National Guard Bureau, shared a photo of the evacuees being airlifted to safety.
“The situation only can be described as just hellish conditions out there for those poor people,” Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue said, Mercury News reports.
Two people refused to be rescued, opting to stay behind.
The NWS previously warned Californians that Labor Day weekend could be dangerous due to the dry conditions and the extreme heatwave.
The Creek Fire has grown to 45,500 acres, and it’s just one of 22 major fires currently blazing in the state. There have been 900 California Wildfires since Aug. 15.