36 Pit Fire evacuees allowed back home still on edge

Crews reached 30% containment of the 36 Pit Fire on Wednesday

Leanne Grains and her eight children said they felt some sense of relief after they were able to return home for the first time in four days on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Leanne Grains and her eight children said they felt some sense of relief after they were able to return home for the first time in four days on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (KOIN 6)

ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Those allowed to return home on Wednesday were relieved but still on alert, as the 36 Pit Fire remains only 30% contained.

Leanne Grains and her eight children said they felt some sense of relief after they were able to return home for the first time in four days on Wednesday.

Grains said they were evacuated Saturday afternoon as flames from the 36 Pit Fire came dangerously close to their Estacada home.

“Right now, the weather is really nice. It’s not thick smoke like it was, and it’s calm and quiet before it was noisy and the wind was blowing. It was really thick,” said Grains.

However, not everyone was as fortunate as the Grains.

Many, including those who live at the Silver Fox RV Park, remained under a mandatory evacuation Wednesday evening.

“It’s really stressful because you don’t know what going on, you really don’t know. You hear updates, but things can change from minute-to-minute and so you really don’t know,” said Melanie Risley.

In a matter of days, the fire consumed 4,000 acres, similar to the size of Forest Grove.

“It was pushed by those easterly winds in a westerly direction down the canyon and across the river,” explained 36 Pit Fire Spokesperson Nick Michel.

While crews have made more progress, bringing the containment to 30%, there are still many concerns.

“It’s consuming the fuels at the ground. It’s consuming big diameter Douglas Fir trees. The roots are burning off and the trees are falling down, crashing down on highway 224, so it’s a real safety issue,” said Risley.

So while Grains was allowed back home, she still remains on alert.

‘Well, Level Two for us will be being ready at any moment’s notices and getting medical supplies ready. So we’ve unpacked a few medical supplies we need for tonight, but everything else is left packed,” said Grains.

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