A quiet wait for what happens next in No. 1 Canyon
Monday, September 10, 2012
WENATCHEE — A morning walk through No. 1 Canyon — a day after its homes were threatened by wildfire — revealed folks out walking their dogs, mowing the grass and sending kids off to school.
So, everything’s nearly back to normal for residents in the 180 homes still under Level 2 evacuation notices while the 800-acre Canyons Fire burns directly to the west, right?
“Well, not quite,” said Bill Mattson, a homeowner on Canyon Place, who was escorting kids to the school bus. This morning, only residents, firefighters and school buses were being allowed past a roadblock at the mouth of the still-smoky canyon. “We’ve still got all the important stuff packed in a trailer and are ready to go at any minute.”
He looked up the steep, charred hillsides to ridges burning in the distance. “Might not happen, but then again, it might.”
The bus arrived and Mattson’s two kids — Timothy, 6, and Linnea, 8 — along with neighbor Phoebe Cain, 10, reluctantly climbed aboard and headed for school. No vacation day because of the fire threat.
Mattson said he and friends watched the blaze on Sunday from his rooftop as the flames crept from a high ridge down to the very edge of nearby lawns. One storage shed went up in flames. “We watched the column of black smoke from our rooftop,” he said. “That was a sobering moment.”
Mattson said he’s always been worried about fire in the area, but mostly from the opposite direction — south — where a camper’s fire ring under Saddle Rock is used frequently. He looked up towards Saddle Rock. “It’s mostly grass from there to here,” he said. “And that can burn hot and fast.”
Still, he said, “We’re trying to live as normally as possible. The firefighters did a great job, and we mostly felt safe through the entire day. Now, the kids are off to school, and I’m about to walk the dog.”
He gazed at a burning ridge in the distance. “Except for the fire threat, it’s a pretty routine start to the day. Now, we’ll wait and see what happens next.”
Mike Irwin: 665-1179
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