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Man survives deadly California wildfire by hiding in creek with his dog

Man & dog use creek to survive Calif. fire
Man and his dog use creek to survive approaching California wildfire 02:01

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. — Clouds of thick black smoke have engulfed the picturesque California hillsides as wildfires ravage the state. Santa Ana wind gusts started to pick up in Southern California, putting people near the Woolsey Fire on edge. More than 83,000 acres have burned and at least 170 homes were wiped out.

Matt Armbruster survived the fire by hiding in a creek with his dog to stay safe. Armbruster was told to evacuate, but he didn't. When the fire looked like it was coming for his home, he panicked and headed to a nearby creek.

Matt Armbruster CBS News

Armbruster stayed there for almost two hours as the fire burned around him. He admitted that he thought he would die there. He was reluctant to share his story because not only did he survive, but so did his house when many in the area are returning to devastation.

Other residents in the area said they are still concerned. High winds can turn one small hot spot into a much larger blaze.

"Everybody needs to remain diligent," said John Benedict of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "Please stay out of the areas that we determine to be evacuation zones."

"I have been evacuated twice, so I totally understand the heartache and stress that's involved in the evacuation process," he added.

Strong winds, dry brush fuel California wildfires 02:41

While firefighters battled on the front lines, they also found themselves fighting a Twitter war with the President Trump, who blamed the fires on forest mismanagement.

Brian Ross, the president of the Association of California Professional Firefighters, fired back, calling Mr. Trump's message "demeaning to those who are suffering."

"The president's message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines."

Many residents are concerned now that the winds have picked back up Sunday and forecasters say there is little to no relief in sight.

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