LEWISTON, Idaho — Evacuation orders have now been lifted from a wildfire burning near Lewiston. The Express fire started overnight in the hills North of Highway 95 above the Clearwater River.
It has since burned about 2,000 acres. At one point, the Clearwater River Casino and Express Gas Station were closed and evacuated, but now they're back open.
The Nez Perce Tribe said there was no fire damage to the casino itself. But, some older outbuildings on the property may have some damage.
It's still unclear how exactly the fire started and parts of it are still burning. But, it's been reported that the fire is moving away from homes and property.
Jason Adams and Chanteille Thomas were forced to evacuate in the middle of the night with their three kids. They said they could see the flames racing through the hills, coming straight for their home. They only had moments to react.
"We got told we needed to get out," Adams said. "It was just a big cloud of smoke that came in through the door. And so we rushed them to the car and got them loaded up in the car. I went in and grabbed a couple couple small things the kids might need and threw them in the car and we got out of here."
"They had told us twice to leave," Thomas added. "And then they came pounding on our door. And they're like 'you guys need to leave now.' We don't have a way to move our fifth wheel. And they're like, 'Okay, well, you need to get your kids in. You need to leave.'"
The family feared they would lose everything. According to Thomas, they were previously homeless until moving into their current RV.
"This is pretty much everything we own is in this fifth wheel," Thomas said.
Adams said his biggest fear at the time of the evacuation was his family's safety.
"Feeling like I let them down all over again and making them homeless again," Adams said. "So, it was really kicking me hard."
Once the family returned the following morning, they were relieved to find their fifth wheel in one piece.
"They stopped it pretty close too because we told them that we had no way to move it," Thomas said. "We had to leave it."
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