Residents grateful to return to Kyle Canyon - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Residents grateful to return to Kyle Canyon

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Metro set up a checkpoint as residents of Kyle Canyon began returning to their homes on Wednesday. (Azenith Smith/FOX5) Metro set up a checkpoint as residents of Kyle Canyon began returning to their homes on Wednesday. (Azenith Smith/FOX5)

The last of the Mount Charleston evacuees are now home. Residents of Kyle Canyon, and business owners, were allowed to return on Wednesday.

The Carpenter 1 fire is currently 90 percent contained, has burned nearly 28,000 acres and has so far cost 17 million to fight. Six structures were destroyed.

Kyle Canyon is home to about 400 people.

"We are anxious to see how our home has survived, and how much ash we have to clean," said Kyle Canyon resident Patty Davis.

It's been a long two weeks for Davis and her family. The fire forced them from their home on July 4. 

"It's pretty emotional for me, because this is our place," Davis said upon returning home.

"Part of the reason why people live on the mountain is the scenic beauty, and the trees and wildlife," said fire incident commander Rich Harvey.

Harvey said some residents probably encountered scorched trees and vegetation near Kyle Canyon, as well as smoke coming from the Goat Rock area. Despite that, he said it's unlikely residents will again be evacuated.

"We are more concerned with a new start, than with the Carpenter 1 fire," he said.

Fire officials said they are prepared should a new fire break out. Helicopters flew for 19 hours on Tuesday, patrolling Carpenter 1 and dropping water on hot spots.

"I think I have probably a new appreciation for the firefighters, Metro police and all the people on the incident command, who supported the community," said Kyle Canyon resident Steve Ostarnder.

The public should be able to access much of Mount Charleston by Friday. Some trails in Kyle Canyon will remain closed, however.

The next step is for a burned area emergency response team to survey the mountain, to determine what must be done to restore vegetation and habitats.

Copyright 2013 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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