Residents return to communities impacted by Tinder Fire

- People who have homes in the Blue Ridge community are being allowed back, following their evacuation Sunday evening due to the Tinder Fire.

On Friday, Mark and Marie Peck were among those heading back to the community. They hauled up a trailer full of supplies.

"Blankets, mattresses, food, lots of drinks," said Mark. He and Marie had a cabin for the last five years on unit 9. They are helping those who lost everything, even though their home burned to the ground. They were allowed back in, beginning at 8:00 in the morning.

"We're blessed that we are not the ones that live up here full time," said Marie. "This is not our everything."

"It's stress," said Jerry Bennett, who evacuated Sunday night. "I thought I could get back up to get my old truck, they said no you can't." 

Bennett had to wait until 2:00 p.m. to head home,  because his home didn't burn. He is grateful for that.

"The fire just was headed towards Winslow," said Bennett. "It's just the wind kept taking towards Winslow. Tthat's the only thing that saved us. It never jumped the road."

About six miles south from where the community is situated, crews from U.S. Forest Service were working the hotspots 

"Right here, we had a hazard tree," said U.S. Forest Service firefighter Eric Anderson. "An oak tree was leaning up in trees that were putting in an overhead hazard for firefighters and public." 

The big concern on the fire line today was that the winds picked up, and that makes the fire unpredictable.

"This fire is coming back to life now that the weather has changed," said Fire Behavior Analyst Stewart Turner. He says they haven't seen smoke for a few days since the rain and snow helped knock the tinder fire out, so he's keeping a careful eye on how things are moving.

In the meantime, the Pecks and all the other people who lost their homes are hopeful things will be back to normal sooner than later.

"We can rebuild," said Marie. "We lost the home, but we didn't lose the memories."

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