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Michigan native shares experience living near California wildfire

Posted: 10:59 PM, Oct 29, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-29 22:59:53-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Hurricane force winds are expected to hit California Wednesday and only worsen conditions as firefighters continue to fight wildfires.

One of the fires currently raging is the Getty Fire.

Grand Rapids native Dana Kolker lives about 5 to 10 minutes from where the Getty fire is currently located.

“I actually woke up because they sent out the alert for the Getty fire at like 3 a.m.,” said Kolker, recalling when she first learned of the danger. “They sent out the evacuation warnings, and we’re pretty close to the area that is evacuating. I woke up to my roommate tugging on my foot yelling, ‘There’s a fire.'”

The Getty fire, as of Tuesday evening, has already charred more than 650 acres and forced around 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. It’s also destroyed multiple buildings and kept more than a dozen schools closed as firefighters continue fighting the flames.

“It’s crazy how far out of our control it is,” said Kolker. “So it’s kind of like, I’m sitting here watching it happen, waiting to be told that I need to leave. I’m definitely used to the Midwest, where the worst thing was like a tornado warning.”

Kolker says she is starting to think about preparation plans in the case that winds change direction and come closer to her exact location.

Besides the Getty fire, the Kincade Fire has burned 75,000 acres of land in the northern part of the state. The Tick Fire is now about 55 percent.