Pine residents asked to evacuate as Elk Complex fires approach

Credit: Adam Worthington / KTVB

Pine residents asked to evacuate as Elk Complex fires approach

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by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 3:20 PM

PINE -- The Elk Complex of fires, burning near the town of Pine, is now the number one priority fire in the nation, fire managers said Sunday.

Resources are coming from fires across the country to help get a handle on the 80,000-acre blaze, and protect the town of Pine.

The Elmore County Sheriff's Office is asking everyone to evacuate, but because it is a voluntary evacuation, there is no telling how many people have left, and how many are staying with their homes.

Because of extreme danger, fire crews have already had to force people to leave some areas.

In his 20 years of owning a house in Pine, Grant Petersen said the last two have been unlike any other.

"Obviously a little stop drop and roll to get up here and get everything that you want out and get it out as fast as you can," said Petersen. "So we're not used to it. This is two times in two years."

The Petersen family left town before the evening meeting at the Pine Senior Center.

About 125 people came to the meeting, in which fire officials urged them to leave town as soon as possible.

"I'm not going to put my safety at stake, but I'm going to try and save my home," said Pine resident Nicole Miller. "It's everything I have."

After the Trinity Ridge fire last summer, some residents have confidence crews will keep their town safe.

"I don't want it to go up, of course, but I have faith that they'll take care of it and get it under control," said one resident. "And I think they'll save the structures, but I think a lot of our trees and some of the beauty's going go."

Folks are doing what they can to prepare and help in the fire fight.

"And so we're going to water everything down," said Petersen. "And it sounds like they're going to do the best they can to save the structures."

For fire crews, the situation is only getting more serious.

"People need to understand that this is not play time," said Madonna Legerich, with the Great Basin Incident Management Team. "This is dead serious. People die when they don't leave their homes when they're asked to. And this team has been on a number of fires in Colorado where people did die because they did not leave."

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