Washington residents seek refuge from smoke | TheUnion.com

Washington residents seek refuge from smoke

WASHINGTON – Ron Henley put his face mask on Tuesday before walking out into the smoke-filled town of Washington, where residents were poised to bolt if the nearby Scotchman Fire ran into town.

“We don’t want the fire to go anywhere, but the smoke’s no fun either,” said Henley, who recently had lung surgery. “I’ve only got one lung and a half, so it’s pretty tough on me.”

The Maybert Fire near the town in 1997 was a scare, said Henley, who has lived in the Washington area for 28 years. “But we didn’t get any smoke like this. This is extremely rare for here.”

Jack Schappert was sitting at the bar in the Washington Hotel and Café, drinking a shot.

“The smoke was worse yesterday,” Schappert said. “I looked out the window and it was like looking into a bowl of milk.”

“I woke up at 4 in the morning, and I couldn’t breathe,” said Carol Dexter, who works at the Washington Post Office. “I had to get up and put a wet wash cloth on my face.

“It was scary when they came around and said, ‘Pack a bag and get ready for the siren to go off'” at the fire hall in the middle of town.

“It’s a nice little town and we’d hate to lose it,” Dexter said. “A lot of people would have nowhere to go.

“I’m hoping for more than just holding the fires,” Dexter said. “They’ve been holding since (Monday) night.”

“I just came back from the (Scotchman) fire and it’s really smoky and difficult to see,” said Deborah Urich, of the Tahoe National Forest. But she added, “It appears to be moving away from town.”

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call 477-4237

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