If you have read Howard Pease’s The Mystery of Thunderbolt Mansion, then you can see the authenticity of his story in this reminiscence:
I could remember only confused bits of the day following that ominous dawn, with newsboys crying “Extry—extry!” with word pictures of San Francisco shaken into rubble, and the spreading fires and no water to fight with because of the broken water mains, and Mama going about her housework with a strained expression because her younger sister, my aunt Libby, worked and lived in the City right in the path of the flames; then the second day with worse news of the fires spreading and joining in one immense holocaust and the militia ordering thousands of refugees to walk back toward the hills; and then the third day with the army dynamiting all the buildings and houses along Van Ness Avenue in hope of halting the flames. No one but rescue crews could enter the City except doctors and nurses and wagons bringing medicines and water, and all these disappeared into the darkness of smoke. And where was Aunt Libby? After ten days we learned that she had been seen with several people from her boarding house seated high on bedding in a beer truck driven by a friend of hers, heading for the slopes of Twin Peaks. This sounded like my aunt Libby, all right. She always came out on top.