Ray May Fire: Pine View residents describe wildfire close call

Shannon Litz / Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz / Nevada Appeal

Gray smoke clouds billowed on the mountain behind Pine View Estates Wednesday as fire crews worked to contain the 2,730-acre Ray May fire.

Although residents on Conner Way had confidence in the fire crews, they still were unsure of what's to come.

"The hot spots have me worried because once the wind kicks back up, especially with the sun hitting them, those hot spots are really dangerous to catch back on fire," resident Timothy Clemens said.

Clemens had worked on a fire crew before with the California Conservation Corps, and knew what the firefighters had to deal with.

"The fire looked like it was going to hit the homes; it was extremely close. I had confidence in the fire crews, that they were up there, and I knew they were going to do their job."

Malcolm Clayton and his fiancee had planned a day of swimming Tuesday when they stepped outside to a big ball of smoke.

"Immediately I freaked out and jumped in the car to check it out," he said. "The response from the firefighters was amazing. As soon as we saw the ball of smoke there were already sirens there."

Clayton was one of about six residents on his street to evacuate.

"A sheriff's deputy lives two houses down, so as soon as I saw him packing, I figured I better pack. It was a weary night."

Eleanor Prosser-Smith lives on Mark Street, and said when she arrived home at 5 p.m., the fire was about 30 acres.

"We thought maybe we overreacted, but it started to move and creep. The wind just took it," she said. "We got our valuables together and had a game plan, but we weren't going to leave until they told us we had to."

Her husband Robert Smith said the wind had him concerned. "We're much more optimistic today, but if the wind changes that could change," he said. "If the wind shifts we could be back in the middle of it."

Mark Street resident Debbie Harris never thought a fire would happen so close to her house. "It was really scary throughout the night. We were all just hoping it wouldn't come any closer. It was awful," she said. "I'm exhausted and worried still, but more relieved. I want to thank the firefighters for doing an excellent job."

The fire didn't surprise Walker Street resident Judy Enderle.

"It didn't surprise me because we have so much dead cheatgrass. It was just a matter of which way it was going," she said. "The mood on the street was a bit of concern, but just watching to make sure something didn't blow this way."

Dan Maldonado said he had confidence in the firefighters' abilities to handle emergency situations. His grandson was on one of the hand crews digging a line around the fire.

He also praised the Douglas County Sheriff's Search and Rescue teams who were advising the residents to evacuate. "They didn't only come by once, they came by three times," he said. "They asked us if we were OK, and if we were prepared to evacuate if we wanted to."


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