Sioux Falls Native Shares SoCal Wildfire Experience

“You step outside, and everything around you is cooking,”

LOS ANGELES CO., Calif. – Multiple wildfires continue to rage in Southern California, chewing up thousands of acres along the way. And a Sioux Falls native in the path of the flames says she might be joining the thousands who have already had to evacuate.

Erin Radke lives in Brentwood, just a couple miles from where a viral video of flames inching close to Interstate 405 was shot. The fast-spreading fire led to closures along the interstate, but it has since re-opened.

However, tens of thousands remain evacuated.

Radke said evacuation orders are coming with minutes — not hours — to gather items and get out.

“Although we have to go about our day and keep working, there’s this small part of you too that’s like I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight or the next day,” said Radke.“Even the locals – the people I work with who have lived here their entire life – when you see them freaked out and you see them panicking and getting concerned about what’s going to happen next, that in itself is pretty terrifying.”

Radke said Southern California saw a lot of rain before she arrived in February, leading to fresh vegetation in the area. But now those plants and high winds are now feeding the fire after a hot, dry summer.

The result has been plumes of smoke and ash.

“You step outside, and everything around you is cooking,” she said. “A lot of my co-workers, their cars were completely covered in ash when they woke up this morning.”