Evacuees return to camp after Browns Creek Fire
Two days after 'chaotic, panic' time, campers collect belongings
It was Erick Becker's first time camping near Wickiup Reservoir -- a trip he'll never forget.
"The sheriff went by at about 60 mph in his boat and we all thought, 'What the heck?' So we walked up to this point and low and behold, there's a massive wildfire going already," Becker said Tuesday.
The Browns Creek Fire was moving closer to their campsite by the second.
"The wind was blowing it 20 mph, so we knew we were in big trouble," Becker said. "Officials told us, 'You've got to get out -- now. You don't have time to put that on the truck, you don't have time for anything. Just grab what you need and go!'"
The fire evacuation forced him to leave his trailer, clothing and food and hit the road running.
"Chaotic, panic. I've never have to do anything like that, but that wind was so strong that I knew that we had to go," Becker recalled.
Ronda Loehr and her husband were camping right next to Becker. They've been coming to the campsite for 5 years. They tried to take as much as possible, but didn't want to risk it.
"We ended up leaving our brand new pontoon boat, and two trucks and two trailers," Loehr said.
On Tuesday, the Loehrs and Becker, along with a dozen other campers, packed up camp and headed home with all their belongings, thankful the fire left them untouched.
"Personally, that camper isn't worth much to me, but all my clothes and other belongings are in there that I didn't want to lose. But there was nothing I could do but just hope," Becker said.
" We figured that our stuff was still there and it was -- that's good news," Loehr said.
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