CHEROKEE, Calif. - The last thing Cade Boeger saw before evacuating from his ranch on Table Mountain was flames burning through the hillside. He said the Cherokee Fire was racing, pushed by winds gusting at over 50 miles per hour. It gave him a gut wrenching feeling his ranch would be gone when he and his family returned.
"The flames were coming so quickly and so intensely that I just got my camera out and took a video," Boeger explained. "I was looking at it and thinking, well I just want to get something on record here so I can see what it looked like one last time."
In the video, his 15-foot American flag can be seen whipping proudly in the wind, despite the devastation looming just behind. It's a symbol for his family of the pride they feel to live in this country.
"We're just proud Americans, we love this country, we love the opportunities and the benefits it's given us and the potential that it stands for," Boeger said.
Apparently, similar sentiments were shared by the CAL FIRE crews who not only protected Boeger's ranch, but also his Old Glory, found neatly folded on his couch when he returned home.
"I was amazed and just really floored when I saw that," Boeger said. "I just kind of froze, I stood there and I just looked at it and I was just blown away. I couldn't believe it. They have this incredibly important and timely job that they're doing and they were able to take a moment and show some respect for the flag and for the homeowners property."
Boeger said it made him emotional, so he posted his gratitude on Facebook and it's proved to have a similar affect for well over 100,000 people and counting. Thousands commented, thanking the firefighters near and far.
"It blew me away. It just impressed me so much, I really have a hard time expressing it," Boeger said.
After going viral, someone told Boeger the names of the firefighters who saved his home and flag. He said he wants to protect their identity for now, but will ask if they're willing to come forward.