When Mandy Keathley began hiking the John Muir Trail, she expected the over 200-mile journey to take about 18 days.
The 32-year-old hadn’t made plans for the summer. So when she got a month off from work, she figured it was the perfect time to spend a few weeks in the open air. She packed a 45-liter backpack with her tent, sleeping bag, stove, food, water filtration and clothes.
What she didn’t expect was for her solo hike to go up in smoke and end — about a week after it started — in a predawn evacuation on a military helicopter.
Hundreds of people endured similar surreal experiences trapped in remote locations of the Sierra Nevada by the destructive Creek fire. The blaze grew to more than 100,000 acres over the Labor Day weekend and left hikers, campers and others stranded with no apparent way out.
By 2 p.m. Sept. 8th, California Army National Guard helicopter crews had rescued a total of 373 people and 16 dogs.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a briefing, “They saved many, many lives and that’s just an example of the kind of heroism that is a big part of this moment as well.”
Read about more rescues…