I used to work in TV news in Sacramento. Just once I went with a cameraman to cover the big wildfire du jour. We had a tight timeline, but I remember it being challenging to actually find the flames, silly as that may sound. Forests don't have that many roads. We did get there, though. It was impressive to see the flames rush up a hill to a house we had just vacated.
What struck me is that the wildfire wasn't like a fireplace, logs slowly burning. Rather, it all happened in a big whoosh and then moved on, more or less.
Also, you and your gear will stink of smoke forever.