Evacuations Ordered For Swanson Lake Fire

DAVENPORT — Fire officials on the Swanson Lake fire near Creston Level Three mandatory evacuation of about 45 homes in the path of the blaze.

The evacuation order, which was called in Tuesday night, applies to homes on the north-northeast edge of the fire. Residents on Hawk Creek Road, Hawk Creek Ranch Road in the Hawk Creek Ranch Estates as well as the Dodd Canyon area are being asked to leave their homes.

So far the Swanson Lake Fire, which is burning near Davenport in Lincoln County, has torched 18,000 acres and the smoke from the fire can be seen for miles. The fire, located south of Creston, started Monday evening. Firefighters say the 35 square mile fire is burning trees, sagebrush, timber and farmland.

One local cattle rancher says as the flames tore across his land he saw his legacy burn.

“Where it started was straight across, straight west of here, seven miles the way the crow fly, and it took less than two hours to come across,” rancher Everett Cole said.

Cole says as the fire raged an estimated 400 head of Piedmontese pure bred cattle escaped, however at least 30 cattle are missing. To replace them it will cost $5,000 a head.

“Looked like hell. I mean there were flames 30 feet in the air,” Cole said.

On Tuesday morning he went out to look at his land, which had been used for cattle farming for nearly 100 years. Now the charred earth spans for miles in every direction.

“Two to three hundred miles of fence gone and we gotta go up north to round up cattle, we are taking guns with us ’cause we know of at least one injured up there,” Cole said.

He’s worked the land as a rancher since 1968 but after this single devastating fire he sees all of his land “110-percent gone.”

So far only one abandoned home has been destroyed in the blaze. No cause for the fire has been found yet though fire crews report that lightning was spotted in the area prior to the blaze was reported.