NATOMAS (CBS13) — A Natomas neighborhood is feeling like they dodged a bullet after a wind-whipped fire came within feet of homes. The fire happened in the area of East Commerce Way and West Elkhorn Blvd Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s really surprising to see a fire literally in your backyard,” said Ron Castro.
Castro came home to clouds of smoke filling his neighborhood. The fire came feet from his back door, destroying his fence and burning parts of his backyard.
“On a windy day like today the fire could have easily jumped, it could’ve landed on my roof,” he said.
The grass fire ignited in an empty space of land next to his house. Flames fueled by acres of dry brush quickly spread towards homes separated only by a concrete wall and firefighters blocking its path. Sacramento Fire Battalion Chief Eric Saylors said fire crews had to race against the wind to fight the flames.
“He had to get in-between the homes and where the wind was blowing it. In these hot conditions, the wind will blow embers blocks away from the original fire,” Saylors explained.
Neighbors captured video of smoke filling their neighborhood. Maxim Zaplava said bushes and trees on the other side of his fence caught fire.
“Oh, dear Lord protect us, don’t let the house burn down,” he recalled saying to himself. “I was running back and forth in our backyard around the house making sure nothing else caught on fire.”
The fire in Natomas that burned an estimated 10 acres is one of several grass fires Sacramento Fire responded to Wednesday, according to Saylors.
Dry conditions, heat and wind have put Sacramento along with surrounding counties are under a red flag warning until Friday morning. Fire crews saved at least three homes of immediate danger by immediately standing between the flames and homes.
During extreme fire conditions, Saylors explains it is even more important to tackle the fire as fast as possible.
“The winder it is, the hotter it is, the faster the fire moves. The hotter it is the harder it is to get it under control,” he said.