PRAIRIE CITY — Prairie City took on a surreal appearance Saturday as a convoy of cars, pickups and trailers packed with personal belongings headed west to escape the advancing Canyon Creek Complex fire.
Parts of the city were ordered to be evacuated early Saturday morning as the fire, driven by high winds, bore down on the town.
As an eerie orange glow blanketed the sky, a light rain and ash fell on the city, and deer and other animals could be seen fleeing across the highway, away from the advancing fire.
Residents under a “leave immediately” evacuation order began flooding out of town early Saturday morning, while those who were under a “be ready to leave at a moment’s notice” order prepared to do just that.
Residents reported feeling a range of emotions, from fear and uncertainty to gratitude that no lives had been lost.
“Everyone’s scared and nervous,” said Heather Reilly, an employee at Mountain View Mini Mart, where many people stopped to stock up on supplies before heading out of town.
At a Red Cross evacuation assembly area in Mount Vernon 20 miles west of Prairie City, Pat Shull said the whole situation had a surreal feel to it.
“The whole thing is unbelievable,” said Shull, whose home is at the very southern edge of Prairie City. “Even being here feels unreal, and we have no idea what’s going to happen.”
Fire crews managed to halt the fire within a half mile of the Art Morgan Road and within 1.5 miles southwest of Prairie City and into Shaw Gulch Saturday at about mid-day.
Evacuation levels, however, remain the same.
For the complete story, check out the Blue Mountain Eagle on Wednesday, Sept. 2