PARADISE (CBS13) — Never-before-seen video from the Camp Fire is painting an urgent new picture this fire season.

The video provides a first-look at the evacuations in Paradise as the Camp Fire moved into the community. The Truckee Police Chief released these videos with a warning: know when it’s time to go.

The video gives an “eyes wide open” look at how waiting to evacuate can make the difference between life and death during a wildfire. And the message is clear: If you live, work, or play in this region, you need to think about fire safety now and be prepared.

“I think that a lot of people envision something where there’s going to be this order to an event… and that’s true 90-95% of the time, but the reality is… is when that really bad one hits… that’s not what it looks like. And that’s what we need our community thinking about,” said Truckee Police Department Chief Rob Leftwich.

Truckee police and fire officials say saving your life and your family’s lives must be your mindset.

“No one ever died from a wildfire because they left too early. You have to be willing to leave early. You can’t get caught into the fact that you staying is somehow going to save your house,” Leftwich said. 

But first responders say when fight or flight kicks in, so can tunnel vision, making a dangerous situation potentially deadly. Especially when you don’t have an evacuation plan.

“That personal plan, or what we call evacuation guides, that’s what we need our community to embrace because it’s specific to you,” Leftwich said. 

That specific plan means understanding the fire signs, knowing the roads and evacuation routes in your neighborhood, how long it takes to load up your car, and what items to take in a “go bag,” in order to make a quick and early escape.

“You have to develop a personal plan. Whether you do that with a guide online or you just sit down the two of you and kind of figure it out on your own, you have to have a plan for your family,” Leftwich said. 

Adrienne Moore

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