‘You just have this empty feeling’: Families in fire’s path stay behind, protect their property

TUM TUM, Wash. — The Ford Corkscrew Fire continues to rage on. It’s burned more than 20 square miles and crews still haven’t been able to contain the flames.

More than 300 families are under Level 3 Evacuation orders, but some can’t bear to leave their homes behind.

Kevin Brown’s lived in his home for almost 30 years. His business is on the property and he can’t say goodbye even though he’s under orders to leave.

“When you see it, you just have this empty feeling like you don’t know what to do,” he said.

He’s thankful his home has a bit of a buffer surrounding it and says the crews are doing an extremely good job at saving what they can. He’s used to wildfires. He knows they’re a part of nature, but he’s never seen one get this close.

“We’ve had them close but not this big, and it’s been so dry,” he said. “This stuff just lit up fast yesterday when the winds hit. You can’t do anything but just sit here and pray.”

Everyone is praying the fire loses steam. It started south of Ford and quickly spread because of the wind. Now, it’s to the Northwest of Spokane with zero-percent containment. Crews are already strapped, and resources are spread thin as more fires burn across Washington.

“This fire is still going to be very dynamic,” said Isabelle Hoygaard, the public information officer for the fire. “We’re still trying to catch it. We’re still trying to get line around it.”

Because of this, she’s encouraging people to stay vigilant and monitor evacuation orders. They’re relying on airstrikes to get ahead of the fire. She’s encouraging people recreating on the Spokane River and Long Lake to be aware of all the planes and helicopters gathering water. The more people can stay out of their way, the more they can attack.

Ron Bassen’s lived near Tum Tum for over 50 years. He owns 40 acres and is watching it burn.

“We’ve had a couple of fires in the back of the valley, but it’s never gotten like this,” Bassen said.

He’s shocked the fire jumped the ridge and engulfed the forest so fast. Yesterday, he had to flee and came back to check on his property today. Everyone’s hoping the fire’s destructive path loses steam but knows the battle is a long one.

“It’s like we almost don’t have enough resources to battle this stuff enough. You know, they’re all over the state,” Brown said.

There’s a shelter set up at Deer Park High School for anyone who needs a place to stay.

LATEST UPDATES: More Level 3 evacuations ordered for Ford Corkscrew Fire, 8 homes burned

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