ALPINE, Calif. (KGTV) - A host of frightening memories is blowing in with the Santa Ana winds of a big, cold-weather wildfire.
Off Alpine Boulevard, the wind-driven worries serve as a reminder for Mary Fritz, who has lived in Alpine since 1977.
"I am concerned and aware," said Fritz.
January 3, 2001, around 6 a.m.
Fritz was in a 50-foot trailer next to her home when she jolted out of sleep.
"Suddenly I heard my neighbor come up and yell,'Get out and get out now!" said Fritz.
Fritz says she grabbed her purse and got out, met by a chilly, 75 mile-per-hour winds and this sight.
"Just total red. That's all I can say, and you saw the embers coming at me," said Fritz.
It was a wall of fire bearing down on her, with only moments to escape with her neighbor.
"The flames already up on the house, but fortunately this area was clear, so I was able to get into his truck and we drove off," said Fritz.
Fritz's trailer, garage, a vehicle, and part of her home burned.
In all, nearly 100 structures were destroyed by the six-day Viejas Fire, started by a cigarette tossed along an I-8 median.
"Ever since the fire, we're very aware this could happen anytime, winter or summer," said Fritz.