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Elk Lake Resort area prepped, braces for Nash Fire

Crews installing sprinkler systems, cutting trees

Elk Lake Resort prepares for Nash Fire

ELK LAKE, Ore. - Elk Lake looked a lot different than what people might expect on Labor Day -- fire engines lining the road, the dining patio deserted, and the lake -- all but empty.

The area is under a Level 2 pre-evacuation notice, as the Nash fire is only a few miles away.

Some of the few people there over the holiday weekend have been staying in a cabin since Sunday, and not until Monday could they even be outside for a while.

"We came down yesterday," visitor Lee Surratt said. "We had reservations. When we got here, it was really, really smoky. We thought we'd just hang out, since we were here already."

The owners said Monday brought the clearest the lake has been all weekend. The plan is to stick it out until they're told to leave -- that is, if a Level 3 evacuation notice takes effect. If it does come to that, they'll be leaving home behind.

"They started coming down here and chopping down trees, putting sprinklers up, and really getting ready," said Tom Watkins, operations manager. "Having bulldozers come in. Then it got a little surreal, and I live here, so when it goes down, I go back to town and -- you know, it's like losing my house."

But they're keeping a positive outlook.

"They have pumps, hoses, sprinklers throughout the private cabins, as well as our cabins here," said Pat Prieve, resort owner. "So I'm pretty confident (the resort will survive), even if the fire gets here."

Fire crews are cutting down trees that are low enough to the ground that they could catch fire and spread to bigger trees, plus they're installing sprinkler systems near cabins. The goal is to keep key areas of the cabins and surrounding areas damp, in case fire does come to the lake.

They also have a wood chipper that's taking care of the piles of trees and brush.

Officials said they expect to have the resort and campground ready by the end of Tuesday. in case the fire does apporach the area.


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