Family films terrifying trip through wildfire

A family from The Netherlands on a trip to California made one wrong turn and found themselves driving through a huge forest fire last week. Maaike Maks and her family of five were traveling to their rental home in Santa Barbara, CA, on Christmas night after attending an NBA game in Los Angeles, CNN reported. When the Maks hit Highway 101, no flames or roadblocks could be seen. They assumed they were a half-hour away from the Solimar wildfire, which sprang up hours before when high winds knocked over power lines, sparking the blaze. The fire started just south of Los Angeles in Ventura County, but those same high winds caused the blaze to rapidly spread. Maks said there was no indication that something was wrong, until they saw the flames.

"There was nobody stopping us on the highway as we got closer and closer, so we thought it was totally safe for us to drive past it," Maks told CNN. "As we started getting closer, I decided to record the fire we saw next to us, as I had never seen this before."

What she recorded was jaw-dropping. The fire raged on the hillside as the family drove through the heat. Sparks and burning brush hit their car. At one point someone says in Dutch "we will catch fire!" Maks said the frightening ordeal lasted only a few seconds, but it felt much longer. "It was terrifying. We were very lucky. In a worst-case scenario, our car could have exploded," Maks told CNN. By Sunday the fire was 70 percent contained, according to Yahoo. The fire spread over 1,200 acres before it was under control.

This isn't the first time we've seen a California wildfire up close and personal through the window of a car. While pointing a camera at a scene like this can indeed produce some amazing footage, surely the safer course of action would be to turn around and find an alternate route to your destination.

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