NAPA VALLEY (KRON) — As soon as two locals saw flames from the windows of their Napa Valley homes last Sunday morning, they headed for the hills armed with only bulldozers.
For six days, Eli Ponce and Dan Wynn bulldozed a four-mile firebreak, directing the fast-moving Nuns fire away from the Browns Valley neighborhood.
The pair accomplished this despite the challenge of navigating steep, hilly terrain during the middle of the night, all while encircled by flames and smoke, making it difficult for them to see.
Ponce and Wynn worked like this for six days.
“This fire came straight down on us, it was extremely hot. We bulldozed all this to put the flames out. And in this particular part we were actually in the flames to put that out,” Wynn said.
But he couldn’t do it without his bulldozing buddy.
“A lot of credit to my boss Eli Ponce,” Wynn said. “He actually took his dozer and went inside there and I kind of covered a six, and was watching him, telling him where to move around and we were consumed by fire a couple of times out here,” he said.
They refueled six times.
Wynn says each fill-up costs about $900, but the reward of possibly saving thousands of homes was worth the sacrifice and the danger.
“It’s all donated. We don’t expect anything from anybody,” Wynn said. “We were just happy that our equipment was here and we were able to help these people.”
That tireless effort went on until Saturday, when Cal Fire was finally able to come up and relieve them, taking over where they left off.
The Nuns fire has burned just over 47,000 acres and is 25 percent contained.
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