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Woman Displaced By Ford-Corkscrew Fire Has Returned Home, But Remembers Night Of Evacuation

Courtesy of Sarah Benton

Hundreds of people were displaced by the Ford-Corkscrew wildfire that is now about two-thirds contained in southern Stevens County. Some of them are still waiting to return.

One woman who has been allowed to return says the whole experience has been harrowing.Sarah Benton considers herself to be one of the lucky ones. She back at her home off of Burroughs Road and it suffered no damage.
Just hours after the fire started near the town of Ford on August 15, Sara received a level 3 “leave immediately” notice at about 2 a.m. She and her wife had expected the notification and packed the items they thought they might need. They made preparations to move their three dogs and two cats. They fled to her mother’s house, about five miles. It was just outside the level 3 evacuation area. It was only a matter of hours until that too received a “leave immediately” notice.

“Ahhh, here we go again, you know? We were still kind of dazed and emotional after leaving our house. Having to do it again was like a one-two punch," she said.

The family then had to deal with moving again. This time they had to safely transport mom's horses. They fled to a friend's place in Suncrest for shelter.

As firefighting efforts progressed, they were able to return to her mom's house after one day, then finally were allowed back into their home on Burroughs Road. That location is still in a level 1 evacuation alert, meaning, be prepared to leave if necessary.

Benton says it hasn't been easy being back with firefighters conducting occasional back burns nearby to reduce the fuel load.

“In my rational mind I know it's ok. It’s not about to get out of control. But my psyche has taken a little bit of a hit watching this. There's something very primitive about seeing and smelling smoke and flames that it hits at a very deep level in your body and causes some anxiety," she said.

Benton says she is now planning to do more fuel reduction on their property. She advises anyone in a similar situation to trust the immediate “go now” message as serious. She says when she received the message there were no flames visible, but realizes it could have gotten much worse very quickly.

More than 800 homes received some form of evacuation alert. There are still about 100 on evacuation notice.?

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