Then they heard a helicopter.
“Everyone was shouting, jumping, shouting, hugging” after the crew noticed the crowd and pointed the helicopter at them, he recalls. “It was one of the best feelings of my life.”
As his own escape unfolded, Remington captured videos of some of his scariest moments. He described the security flight to Alisyn Camerota on CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday.
“It all happened so fast”
Remington and his relatives – his mother, his partner, and his brother, his brother and their two children – camped on the other side of the lake Saturday morning, partly to celebrate his mother’s retirement. .
Shortly after noticing smoke in the background, he began a 12-hour ordeal to leave the forest.
Shortly after a trip to a store on Saturday, Remington recorded a video of himself driving a car, with tree fires on both sides of the road.
“It all happened so fast,” he said.
Back at his campsite, there was nowhere to go by car. His brother had a boat, so they piled up and moved to the other side of the lake, eventually joining many other people in a camp area along the water.
No one had a cell phone service, he said.
“There was no word. Talking to other people who were latent, no one heard anything,” Remington said.
In the evening, he recorded a panoramic view. Everything was cloudy, and the trees, brush, and sky grew yellow and orange in most places around it, with thick walls of gray smoke rising elsewhere.
“There is fire on all sides, around us,” he says in the video.
“You could feel the heat. “Pigs fall on you and hit you in the face,” he recalled on CNN. “It was unreal.”
Although he says he thought he would not go out, he and others tried to stay positive outside.
“We tried to keep it as good as we could … especially for young children, and only for other people around and their children,” he said. “You do not want to miss it.”
Campers flash their lights on a helicopter
Finally, they heard a helicopter in the background.
“Everyone started flashing their lights, putting on – you know, the emergency lights in their cars, flashlights in the sky, to make sure our helicopters saw us,” he recalls.
“Once they saw us and started falling, we knew rescue and rescue were on the way,” Remington said.
“You can not describe it, unless you are in this situation. Like, you will die, and suddenly you are not. It is just an amazing feeling.”
Several helicopter trips were made to evacuate the campers. One Chinook picked up dozens of people at a time, pictures show.
Speaking to CNN from Palmdale outside Los Angeles on Wednesday, Remington said his family was OK.
“We are trying to revive as much as we can,” he said. “We still don’t know anything about our belongings or our vehicles. We assume everything is gone. That’s probably the best way, is to assume. And then if it is not, you know, well done.”