We are feeling very blessed after arriving home from our trip to Utah and Idaho last night. We could have been caught in a traffic nightmare from a fire on the I-15 as we drove home yesterday.
Just outside of Barstow, we saw the plume of smoke ahead of us. As we checked on the traffic conditions on my iPad, I saw that the freeway was closed in the Cajon Pass. We quickly planned an alternate route through Palmdale to avoid the mess.
Our view traveling southbound on I-15 just before Victorville
On our alternate route by way El Mirage Rd and Palmdale Blvd.
They are roads that run parallel to Highway 18 (three miles north).
We are stopped while waiting for a train in Palmdale.
Notice the traffic headed north on I-5 trying to get out of LA.
You can also see the above video by clicking here. Start watching at 1:00
Here is the news story from Yahoo news found here and copied below.
...Saturday's relief (from an earlier fire) followed sheer chaos on Interstate 15 on Friday, when a wildfire began next to the freeway. Fueled by 40-mph winds, the blaze raced uphill and onto the traffic-clogged freeway, trapping hundreds of people amid a cauldron of smoke, flames and ash.
"We were surrounded by the flames. They were to the left, then in front of us and they came around to the right. We were in a big horseshoe in the middle," Russell Allevato said.
The Michigan man, who was on vacation with his family, watched helplessly as flames engulfed his rental car and destroyed everything inside while he, his nephew and two teenage daughters fled to safety.
"People were screaming. It was just crazy," he said.
Drivers and their passengers had no choice but to abandon their cars as the flames hopscotched down the freeway, destroying 20 vehicles, several of which exploded in fireballs.
Amazingly, only two people were injured. Both suffered minor smoke inhalation, authorities said, but declined medical attention.
Among those trapped by the flames was Lance Andrade, a 29-year-old railroad conductor from nearby Apple Valley, who found himself caught in the traffic jam just as the fire jumped the freeway. Soon people were running toward him and he joined them, only to find there was nowhere to run. Flames had surrounded him and the others.
A panicked-looking firefighter ordered everyone to take cover, and Andrade said he huddled with four other men and two elderly women in the back of a tractor-trailer rig until the flames passed. One of the women, who had become separated from her family, began to cry. Everybody was terrified.
"You could hear the explosions from people's vehicle tires popping from the heat," Andrade said. "You could hear crackling. Smoke was coming in every direction. You could feel the heat. We just waited it out and prayed to God.”
The initial firefight was hampered by five drones that were being flown in the area when fire broke out, said Lee Beyer, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman. He said several firefighting aircraft were delayed or diverted until the drones moved out of the area.
Nelly Venzor said she and several members of her family, including her 95-year-old mother, abandoned their car and received a ride to their home in nearby Hesperia from a stranger in a pickup truck.
"When the fire just jumped to the other side of the freeway I thought, 'It's really hot and my mom is in the car. And if we have to run it has to be done now. Quick, before we get stuck here and roast,'" Venzor said.
"People could not move their cars. People were running. I thought, 'OK, this is it.' I really did," she said.
California is in the midst of severe drought, and wildfires are common. Some break out near freeways, but it's very unusual to have vehicles caught in the flames.
It being a Friday afternoon, however, Interstate 15 was typically jammed with vehicles traveling between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Adding to the congestion was construction work going on in the area, said San Bernardino County Fire Capt. Josh Wilkins.
Allevato and his family had left Las Vegas earlier in the day for Los Angeles, where they had hoped they might meet the Kardashian sisters at the family's West Hollywood clothing boutique.
Allevato's 15-year-old daughter, Leah, was devastated.
"We waited two years for this vacation, and I saved all my money," she said. "I was thinking about it every day, and I finally got here and I have no clothes ... I waited so long, and it's ruined.”