The sun tries to burn through smoke filled Forest
Lakes Friday morning, June 21. Looking down Rim Road from
Jeannie Van Lew
Forest Lakes resident
We listen all night for word to come across the scanner to
evacuate Forest Lakes. The word never comes. We wake
in the morning to the smell of smoke. Upon arising, we can
see a blanket of smoke laying across Forest Lakes like a thick
fog. The sun tries to burn through, but the smoke is
thick. Deer and elk are seen all through the
neighborhood. I'm sure they must know what's going on, and
yet, they don't appear worried or anxious. Will we get the
word today to evacuate?
Winds continue to fan the two blazes.
The "Rodeo" fire covers 150,000 acres by midday, and the "Chediski" fire consumes 16,000 acres. By evening, the two are about 8 miles apart and still at 0 percent contained.
More than 8,000 people from 6 towns have been evacuated.
As many as 100 homeowners in Clay Springs, Pinedale and Linden defy fire officials' demands and sneak back to their houses. Some take four-wheel-drive vehicles to go around barriers, and saw down trees and bulldoze trenches to protect their homes.
An undetermined number of structures in Overgaard and Heber burn.
The fires combine to char more than 235,000 acres - nearly the size of Mesa, Chandler, Tempe and Scottsdale combined. There are conflicting reports about whether the "Rodeo" and the "Chediski" fires have merged.
Fire crews race to bulldoze two horizontal swaths south of Heber to contain the fires. They also try to build a containment line in Hop Canyon and perhaps set a prescribed burn to rob the "Rodeo" fire of fuel.
The efforts fail as the fires blow past the lines. Flames could be seen from the Juniper Ridge area of Show Low for the first time.
By evening, the "Rodeo" fire reaches Hop Canyon, triggering the ordered evacuation of Show Low's population of 7,700. Another 3,500 residents in Pinetop-Lakeside also get the orders to leave town.
No containment in sight.
What I saw looking in my rear view mirror, the day
we were evacuated from Forest Lakes.
Forest Lakes resident
Residents were evacuated at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, June
22 as a precautionary measure.
Hot Shot crews, sheriff and other officials
Forest Lakes as a staging area.