Residents west of Bend drove toward the smoke Monday morning to grab what they could from the heart of the Level 3 evacuation zone as the Two Bulls Fire continued to burn just miles away.
"A lot of people have their life savings in these houses," said evacuated Bend resident Don Lukinbeal. "And they can all be gone in a few minutes."
Lukinbeal said he has lived on the bank of Tumalo Creek for more than a decade. He was evacuated Saturday evening, as were dozens of others whose homes are near Skyliners Road west of Bend.
Now, Lukinbeal is staying with friends in southwest Bend -- waiting, watching and crossing his fingers the flames don't come closer to his home.
"I'm sort of nervous," Lukinbeal said. " I had to board the dog. And I miss the dog."
Meanwhile, residents closer to town are still on standby, on Level 1 or 2 notices and ready to flee if the fire gets bigger.
"It's very scary -- it looks a lot closer than what it is," said Sue Cavanaugh, a resident on Level 2 alert."I was planning on going to Portland tomorrow, and I just want to know if my house will be safe. If the winds don't shift dramatically, everything should be okay."
Residents NewsChannel 21 spoke with said they've never seen the High Desert's wildfire season hit so close to home -- and surely not so early.
"There's a very good possibility (they homes) could go up in flame without these firefighters we've got. They're doing a terrific job," Lukinbeal said.
Cavanaugh echoed the sentiment, shared by many: "God bless them, and I thank them for all they do."