Community Rallies Around Those Affected By Wildfire
by Blake Jensen, KHQ Local News Reporter - bio | email
NEAR CLE ELUM, Wash. - When Incident Commander Rex Reed spoke to evacuees of the Taylor Bridge Fire Tuesday night, he teared up thinking about how strong his community has been throughout this fire. He mentioned seeing strangers helping strangers, evacuees helping evacuees, neighbors helping neighbors.
With nearly 500 now evacuated the community as a whole is sticking together, even with the very real threat of more evacuations looming.
Amber Short and John Vukovich live in Sunlight Waters, one of the hardest hit areas. It's where the majority of homes destroyed were located. They were evacuated on Tuesday morning as flames approached their house. Since then, they've volunteered their time at a shelter for other evacuees. Helping others even though their home is still threatened.
"I used to fight fire right along with those guys, said Vukovich. "I decided to step away from it but I still just want to contribute."
Right now their home is still standing, but they're not being allowed back until it's safe.
The head of the fire is now near another community, Hidden Valley. People there were evacuated Wednesday and the fire is still moving north toward the town of Liberty, which is under an evacuation notice.
Only about 8 people live in Liberty full time, but those 8 are ready to leave at a moments notice.
"We packed up the car last night just in case," said Wesley Engstrom, a resident of Liberty. "My wife Carol wanted to leave then. It finally took us going to the fire ourselves and seeing that it wasn't coming right up the valley at us to get her to stay."
And while they haven't had to leave yet, if they do, this entire community has already shown they'd be taken care of.
"I'm willing to do anything," said Short. "And it's not just me or John, anybody here will do everything they can to help you"
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