WEST POINT (CBS13) — There were scary moments for residents in Calaveras County after a wildfire ignited caused residents to evacuate.

The Point Fire has kept fire crews busy throughout the day. U.S. Army veteran Armand Chouinard heard branches falling off trees near his home in West Point. It wasn’t until a knock on his door from his neighbors that he knew something was terribly wrong.

“A lot of fire and then all of a sudden we were ready to leave, there was a big explosion, one of the tanks blew up down there — the propane,” he said.

Chouinard has lived in West Point for 15 years. The last wildfire he experienced was two years ago. This time around he said he was a little bit more prepared.

“I had to get my valuable things out like my guitars — I had to get them out — and a few other vital things, and medicine and stuff, right away,” he said.

Firefighters say the flames are currently burning through lots of dead and dry fuels. Close to 200 acres have burned so far. The strong winds are creating a challenge for fire crews.

“The winds were pretty strong, I don’t know what the exact miles per hour were but they were definitely very strong, and you can tell by the debris on the road,” said Jarrod Clinkenbeard, battalion chief for Cal Fire.

Sierra Baptist Church in Pioneer has opened its doors as faith leaders turned the building into an evacuation center. The Red Cross is offering food, water, and shelter while several community members are also pitching in to help.

“They set up the shelter down here, so I called, they said ‘yeah come on down’ so here I am,” said volunteer Bruce Davidge.


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