The Watermelon Hill fire is now at 80-percent containment, the last Level 3 evacuation was lifted Monday afternoon, and now as firefighters continue to tame the fire, residents are starting to clean up in the fire's wake.
Fishtrap Lake Resort just off Interstate 90 is normally busy right now. Instead, boats are docked and campers are empty. Despite the quiet moment, it's anything but as the resort owners are left to clean up the mess from the fire.
Sandaa MacKinnon and her husband were at the resort and were alerted by the resort owners on Saturday night that a fire was near. In a matter of an hour they found themselves packing up the family and heading out.
“We had to leave our cat down here because we had to leave so quick,” MacKinnon said.
On Tuesday the MacKinnons were back at the campground cleaning up from the fire, almost everything at the resort has seen some sort of impact. The MacKinnons are dealing with a lot of fire retardant, which covered nearly everything.
“It was, well it's on everything. The shed still has some on it,” MacKinnon said.
Of course, fire retardant to clean off buildings and campers is better than charred wreckage and an insurance claim.
Owner Mike Barker thought the resort was a total loss when he heard it the fire had it surrounded on three sides.
“This is our fence line right here on the other side of these two trailers and you can see they fought it right to the edge,” he said.
Barker says the only loss they suffered is a weeks worth of business and anticipates opening again on Monday so that firefighters can keep using the lake to fight hot spots.
“They did a real yeoman's task here. It's unfortunate that they had to be here and couldn't be on one of those other big fires going on. It's a shame the resources had to be spent on this," Barker said.
For Barker, it's time to clean up some of the mess before visitors come back to the campground, a task he's happy to perform.
“Boy it was close,” he said.
Fire officials expect to reach full containment of the Watermelon Hill fire Wednesday.