When you are trained by professionals to do one thing only as a last resort, it means that you only reach for it when the situation calls for it. However, one call did a disaster that caused everything to get burned down, such as a hunter that got lost in a national forest in Cleveland. Back from the 25th of October 2003, the hunter set on a signal fire just like he has been taught to do as the last resort in a situation. But it ignited a forest fire instead.

The blaze then burned the ground almost 300,000 acres, killed about 15 people and had destroyed more than 2,000 homes before it was being contained on the 4th of November. The hunter who fired the signal was later sentenced to 6 months private imprisonment plus 960 hours worth of community service by a federal judge.

After 10 years, the memories of the biggest wildfire in the history of California still remains fresh in the collective consciousness of the county. It has even made people share their experiences and reflections about such a tragedy online.


10-year anniversary commemoration

The internet shared their memories of what happened back then. One of the witnesses of the fire, Greg Hewitt, remembered the day really well. They were living in the Cardiff by the Sea, wherein they washed their cars during the first day and noticed that it was raining ashes. After witnessing that, they were then glued to their TV and they knew it that a lot is going to be affected by the fire, not to mention the devastation that it can do to the ground.

That same day in the Peutz Valley, Wendy Padilla Fenner and her 83 years old husband met with one emergency after another. They ultimately lost their home and the 2 businesses that they’ve owned. But what they were really thankful for was their resiliency and their lives, the commitment and the good friends that supported them.

Cal Walker even remembers the time that it was both scary yet amazing. Scary because the fire caught up so fast that it was eating up one household after another. Yet because of such a huge event, it also showed unity among people, helping each other out. It even happened between strangers.

It was hard for Mike Bradburn to believe that already 10 years have passed since the fire took place. It almost seemed like it was so long ago and at the same time like it just happened yesterday. During that time, Bradburn was at the Alpine COPPS as a deputy sheriff. During the first day, they were in the many hours into the 18+ hour shift and they have not been fed as well. They were on their own and since most of them were called out, they did not have much water or food with them. He still remembered passing by the Shell Station, they went in and told the clerk what they needed in order to have some food. The clerk, in turn, gave all the sandwiches they had together with some drinks.

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