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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
US forest fires: Eyewitness accounts
Forest fire
Tinder dry forests are fuelling the blazes
With huge forest fires threatening homes across America's western states, some BBC News Online users in the region have emailed personal accounts of recent events

Joe Nelson, Colorado

The Missionary Ridge Fire is currently about 8 miles from my home. The sun is a orange spot in a smoke filled sky. My children have been having problems with their eyes and lungs.


In the first few days of the fire, the smoke was pretty awful. Even indoors, there was no way to get away from it

Scott Riney, Colorado
Ranches that have been in the same family for five generations burned last night. Every park in town is filled with the tents of the fire fighters.

The feeling in town is one of apprehension, to say the least. Very similar to the public mood on the afternoon of 11 September.

On a good note, the firefighters received so many donations of food, drink, ice, socks, etc. that they had to ask that no more be donated.

More homes were saved than have been lost.

Wounded bears have been wandering into town and I have seen waterfowl and eagles die from the heat and smoke and fall from the sky in mid flight.

Matthew Francis, Arizona

Last winter the White Mountains didn't receive much snow or rain, nor had they the three years before that.

Burnt out house
Many houses have been destroyed

The high school where my father taught and my sisters and I attended is now a staging area for men with pickaxes, walkie-talkies, camouflage and fire resistant clothing.

We see images on the news and get telephone calls from people we know working the fire.

Our house still stands, for now at least. It was untouched by the flames [but] we've been told that the bulldozers have most probably turned what used to be our yard and neighbourhood into a lunar landscape in an effort to starve the fire.

Tonight the blaze is still creeping around Show Low, like a predator laying in wait

Stacey Youdin, New Mexico

We live 100 miles ENE of Show Low and for two nights the smoke has settled in as though we lived in an overpopulated tourist campground.

We've had calls from friends in town thinking it was our forest burning. It is an horrid, sickly sour, creosote kind of smoke.

Scott Riney, Colorado

Some people took refuge in a  local football stadium
Thousands have had to flee their homes
I live and work in the south western corner of the Denver metro area, downwind of Colorado's Hayman fire.

In the first few days of the fire, the smoke was pretty awful.

Even indoors, there was no way to get away from it. I could look out the window of my apartment and see ash falling.

Eric Larson, Oregon

I just called my father in Phoenix. My Uncle Wade is staying with him after being evacuated from Show Low. His home is surrounded by trees. He was able to take some belongings in his truck, but when he returned for a second load he was turned away.

He had to leave his Harley Davidson, among other treasured belongings.


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