Residents and Fire Crews Brace For More Danger

by Kristen Lowe
NewsWest 9

Lexie Newby is just a little girl, but the memory of evacuating from her home on Saturday weigh heavy on her.

"I was scared," she said. "All I had was my DVD player and all the pictures that my Mom had."

Her mother, Lisa, recalls leaving her home just before the flames settled within a yard of her property.

"The smoke started off normal, and then suddenly the plume was huge. You don't see anything but the fire and everybody is scattering. It was like the sky was on fire. It was awful," Newby said.

The fire burned through 16,000 acres and destroyed about 35 homes. Midland Fire Department's Ken Whiting says at one point, they had a 37-mile perimeter around the fire.

"The fire moved incredibly rapidly," he said. "One of the fastest fires I'd ever seen."

Last weekend's battle is drawing to a close, but the fight is far from over. Wednesday is another critical fire danger day and Midland Fire Department is ramping up their staff.

"[We will] add people to different units," Whiting said. "We have two brush units and we're getting a third. We'll hire back for both of those units so the engines are staffed as well."

If all goes as planned, their efforts will not be in vain. As long as they can save people's homes and livelihoods, like they did for the Newbys.

"They saved our lives. They saved a lot of people's lives. These houses wouldn't be standing if it weren't for their hard work," Newby said. "It's important that they know how much of a difference they make to people out here."