In a handful of days his uncles taught him. They knew that the call to evacuate would come soon. And it came in the middle of the night.
A Ruben Navarrete he had to learn at once. His first time behind the wheel was on a narrow and steep route with a fierce fire behind his back, in the heart of California.
His family had been preparing for two days, putting everything in bags and suitcases, to leave their home in Cold Springs Ranchería, an indigenous reservation threatened by the Creek fire, which devastated more than 71,000 hectares in the foothills of the Sierra National Forest in central California.
His uncles Jamie and Joshua Smith, with whom he has lived for several years, they were preparing it.
“It’s like a video game, Rubén,” remembers the 14-year-old boy, who is preparing to start ninth grade, as Joshua used to say.
And the time came, on Monday, at night.
The family (the uncles, the three cousins and Rubén’s brother, who needs a wheelchair) received a call around midnight to evacuate as soon as possible.
Jamie up front in his truck Ruben in the middle in a Chevrolet Blue Traverse and Joshua in the rear, with a pick-up that, to add insult to injury, I had no lights front.
“I was very nervous, very scared,” says Rubén in the hotel room where he now lives with his family in Clovis, a nearby city where evacuees arrive.
The fire “was behind us … I didn’t even want to see because he had to be focused, he didn’t want to crash or something. But if you looked out the window you would see the steep mountain range, “he recalls.” It was a long way … I think that when I was halfway there I started to feel more comfortable.
Era the first time who was driving, the first time he had to evacuate due to a fire.
And so far the Smiths They do not know if your house stands.
Jamie tries not to talk about it too much and on the hotel beds she placed blankets that she brought with her to try and give a more homey feel.
From his house in the hills to Clovis it was about 50 km.
“He did very well,” Jamie congratulates him. “It was a little slow, but better … the important thing was arrive safely“.
“Was a mega intensive course“He launches with a laugh.” He had driven barely 500 meters per house. “
Stan Jordan, 68, also fled along these routes in his caravan, which has been his home since last November, when he decided to travel the United States fulfilling a dream he always had with his wife, now deceased.