Sawmill Fire evacuees grateful to find homes untouched - Tucson News Now

Sawmill Fire evacuees grateful to find homes untouched

Thom's untouched property. Behind it, other side of Graeterville Road where he saw #Sawmill fire crews control burn to stop spread. (Source: Tucson News Now) Thom's untouched property. Behind it, other side of Graeterville Road where he saw #Sawmill fire crews control burn to stop spread. (Source: Tucson News Now)
SONOITA, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Some pre-evacuation orders remain for a few communities near the Sawmill Fire in southern Arizona, according to an update from the incident management team coordinating the fire fight.

As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, families in Mescal, J-6, Rain Valley and Hunter Ranch were asked to be on standby with pre-evacuation orders.

Families previously forced from their homes earlier in the week have been allowed back to their property.

Thom Doran and his neighbors in the Greaterville community were some of the first to leave their homes behind this week. He and his son had their bags packed.

"We were ready to go," he said. "We didn't expect to have to go."

Doran said he watched dozens of firefighters work a controlled burn across the street from his house. The flames never crossed the street. Later that night, Doran said he woke up to flames burning high in the distance. 

They didn't wait to leave, despite being attached to the property for so many years. 

"You're thinking about outcomes and what would I do with my whole life centered around where I am now," Doran said. 

He thanks God every morning to wake up on his eight acres of land north of Sonoita. Doran is grateful to the firefighters who protected it and the neighbors who helped him on a night he had to wake up somewhere else. 

"Kudos to the people in Sonoita," he said. "They right away found us food, shelter and a place to stay for overnight."

The Sawmill Fire has burned an estimated 47,000 and crews haven't lost a single home to flames yet. Doran said "the make all the right decisions".

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