SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) - Firefighters in Sonoma County fought fire with fire Friday, lighting backfires to burn fuel. As hand crews brought help on the ground, a national guard helicopter assisted with water drops from the air.
A Marin County fire crew cut a hole in a swimming pool cover to use the water to protect one house on Moon Mountain Road in Sonoma County.
The heart of wine country is shrouded in smoke.
At Monte Rosso Vineyard, dusty grapes hung on the vine.
And down the road, dried pink fire retardant sat seemingly painted on driveways and plants.
"What is today? Friday? Saturday?" questioned Fire Captain Mark Burbank with Marin County Fire.
Captain Burbank has been on the fire lines for five days with only a 12-hour break.
But fighting this fire has been tougher than others because 2 hours after he left Sunday night to fight fire, his own family was forced to evacuate from their home.
Burbank had tears in his eyes as he described how his wife managed to safely drive out of their Larkfield home in Sonoma County with their three children, even having to turn around and drive the wrong way on the freeway when flames covered Highway 101.
Their home survived..
Loren Davis, the Fire Chief of Mountain Volunteer Fire department, shared cell phone video that one of his firefighters recorded amidst the firestorm on Sunday in the Tubbs Fire.
"There was nothing but a solid wall of flames," said Chief Davis.
Davis says firefighter Jesse Figoni's video was taken Sunday night on Porter Creek Road between Santa Rosa and Calistoga and shows the firestorm of embers and flames.
Chief Davis says the danger was amplified because so many people were asleep when the fires broke out.
"Just my engine, we probably woke about 10 people up that had no idea it was going on. One family got up--they ran out into the car in their underwear and drove off. It was that crazy. I've been in this business 20 years and this is the most extreme fire behavior I've personally witnessed," said Chief Davis.
Crews gained ground Friday, helping secure part of a fire break to protect the fire from moving farther South to Sonoma.
Their next concern was winds in the forecast which they say could down smoldering trees.