Residents return to smoldering neighborhood after McKinley Fire
It was the first time seeing her home in over a week. Patricia Carrick knew from a photo shared online that the cabin she built in 2000 had been spared from the fire, but seeing it with her own eyes was still emotional.
"We were looking around going 'wow, wow'" she said. "It's still here."
Her cabin is unscathed but surrounded by charred trees in a wooded lot near mile 91 of the Parks Highway. Some of her neighbors' homes were reduced to ashes.
"You can't help but feel grief," she said.
Smoke and occasional flames still flare up in the neighborhood, but residents here have gone from a "Level 3 - Go" status to a "Level 2 - Set," meaning they can return to their homes, but should be ready to leave at short notice.
Firefighters are still working in the area, enforcing the line by cutting trees and spraying down hot spots.
Kyra Woodman and some of her extended family have homes in the area. She's spent the last week taking stock of what has been lost, but she's grateful for what's been saved.
Every morning she loads up her ATV with snacks and cold beverages and hands them out to firefighters, neighbors and friends.
"It's a really sad time for everybody and a lot of people don't have anything left. And we're just trying to give them hope," she said. "We're going to rebuild and keep the spirit of the community together."
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