Fire creates indelible memories
Published: Thursday, July 26th, 2012
Thursday, July 19, started out routinely in the Streff household near Pringle. The boys, Payton and Dalton, were swimming and splashing in their new swimming pool that had taken three days to fill, but had finally been filled just the day before.
“This is the best day of my life,” Dalton had said, reveling in the coolness of the water on such a hot and dry day — one in a long string of hot, dry days in a summer that brought the largest drought on record since 1988.
Lila was working in her kitchen about 2 or 2:30 p.m. when the boys came bursting into the room exclaiming that they had heard a loud noise. When they looked up, they saw a puff of dark smoke to the south.
Alarmed, Lila and the boys jumped into her car and headed out to the highway looking for answers. It was obviously a fire, but where? How close to their house was it? Which direction was it going? When they got to Highway 385, just a mile up their one-lane gravel road, they were startled to see that the puff of smoke had grown into a billowing plume reaching high into the sky.
Lila questioned an officer stationed at Pringle, but he had no answers for her. On her way home, she stopped at the houses in her neighborhood and told them of the fire which was so close. Several had no idea there was a fire, she says.
At 8:30 that evening, Lila — along with all her neighbors — was given a preliminary evacuation order.
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