A father and son “drove through hell” to escape a U.S. wildfire that erupted while the pair were on a hike in Glacier National Park in Montana.
Charles and Justin Bilton just wanted to enjoy a nice father-son hike on, unaware their excursion would turn into a life-and-death nightmare.
In a Facebook post, Justin Bilton said he “drove through hell” with his father in their rented vehicle on August 12, after a wildfire swept over them as they tried to escape the park.
Video recorded from behind the wheel shows the terrifying scene of flame and smoke encroaching on the road as they try and navigate through the blaze.
At several points Justin panics, exclaiming “Dad, this is insane!” and “Dad, what if the car blows up?” Justin says.
His dad calmly responds, “Well, we’re dead. Just keep driving.”
The pair had set out on a hike when the Howe Ridge Fire was only a few acres wide and far away, Justin told Storyful. But within a few hours the fire had spread hundreds of hectares, forcing the father and son to flee.
“We hiked back to the car to get out where it was parked at the end of a dead road,” Justin told Storyful.
The video shows just how dangerous and close to the blaze they were. Justin does his best to navigate the burning road and smoke and at one point asks “Dad, what if a tree falls on us?” Seconds later, the exact thing happens – a tree falls across their path, forcing them to stop.
The video ends with Charles suggesting they get out and “use gloves” to move the fallen tree.
The pair ultimately were unsuccessful in moving the tree and ended up turning back and driving back to the trailhead.
They were rescued by two park employees in a boat, Justin said, adding that they saved their lives. The rented car was consumed by the blaze.
Watch their harrowing ordeal in the video below.