People of Northwest Public Radio
Sat July 19, 2014
Pateros Residents Try To Make Sense Of Destruction Left By Wildfire
The wildfires burning in central Washington prompted another round of evacuations last night (Friday night). Sheriff's deputies urged residents around some edges of a sprawling fire in Okanogan County to leave.
Meanwhile, other evacuees in the lower Methow Valley and Pateros have been allowed to return home to see what's left. Jessica Robinson reports. It was hard for Dan Atkisson to drive away as a wall of fire came down the hill behind his house in Pateros. But it was even harder to make the long drive back on Friday. Dan Atkisson: "It was a real hard drive -- you didn't know. You had no clue whether your house would be here or not. And when I got here, I see my friends houses were pretty much down to rubble. There was nothing left over there. I'm just glad it wasn't us. The house was still here." The fire stopped about a foot away from his wood house. Pateros residents are now trying to make sense of why some homes are black scars on the ground and others are still standing -- sometimes right next to each other. Kelsey Verbeck says none of her neighbors' homes burned. She and her husband went to a nearby shelter after they lost everything. Kelsey Verbeck: "We thought it would be okay. He grabbed a pair of work pants and a work shirt for today. We thought we'd be back there. So that's kind of how we were thinking. I really didn't think it would burn. I mean, we live right in town." And the threat remains. As people returned, another home in the middle of town caught fire from a flare up likely caused by a falling ember. Copyright Northwest News Network