Ekalaka fire threatens several homes

Approximately 10,675 acres have been scorched by a wildfire reported the evening of September 14, 2012, south of Ekalaka.

Jacob and Julie (Woolston) Hieb’s home was right in the middle of the flames. The fire burned a 360 degree circumference around the structure. Photo by Julie Hieb

By Lisa Kilsdonk

Posted September 21, 2012

Approximately 10,675 acres have been scorched by a wildfire reported the evening of September 14, 2012, south of Ekalaka. Named the Dugan Fire, the blaze spread quickly, threatening livestock, residences and the town of Ekalaka itself.

Town librarian Janet Livingston, who lives just north of Ekalaka, was able to see the ominous orange glow just south of her hometown as winds blew the thick black smoke to the north.

Carter County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Candy Loehding confirmed that the fire came within one and one-half miles of the town, but that four to five rural residents had to be evacuated. Two of the evacuated homes belonged to Jacob and Julie (Woolston) Hieb. One is their personal residence, and the other houses the ranch’s hired man and his family. The Hieb’s own residence was constructed a few years ago by local Baker contractor Joe Nagel, who sided the house with a cement fiber siding which proved its fire-resistance value Sept. 16. As the fire neared the residence, planes dropped fire retardant on the woodland trees near the house, and local firefighters sprayed the house down with foam.

While Jacob Hieb was on the fire line elsewhere, Julie Hieb and some family members received word to evacuate the home. They gathered important papers and resigned themselves to the house being lost to the fire.

In a Facebook post on the Ekalaka Hills Fire page, Hieb uploaded a flame-filled picture with the following caption: “Our home was right in the middle of these flames, (this picture was) taken down the road after I was told to evacuate. Thank the Lord, when the flames went down … the house was still standing! Words could never express our thanks and gratitude to our local volunteer fire department and others who came from many miles around to help. Our neighbors were amazing, so thankful to live in a community that will put others first!” The fire burned a 360 degree circumference around the structure.

      



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