Firefighters saved more than homes from Sawmill Fire - Tucson News Now

Firefighters saved more than homes from Sawmill Fire

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
SONOITA, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Sawmill Fire has burned nearly 47,000 acres, but thanks to the efforts of firefighting crews no homes have been lost.  

Tucson News Now spoke with one of those lucky families. 

Marianne Blake and her daughters, who live along State Route 83 near Sonoita, were given pre-evacuation notices on Monday, April 22. In a matter of hours, they were told to evacuate as the Sawmill Fire came racing towards their home.  

"I remember looking in the mirror and seeing the fire coming and I was like, 'Oh my gosh. It is real,'" Blake said. "My girls were packing up our cars, we have three dogs, a cat, a bird. My youngest daughter and I had decided, 'OK, we're going to ride out and pony our animals.' And then the wind dancing all over the place. And they told me that wasn't safe." 

Blake had no choice but to leave behind five animals, her home, and most of her belongings. 

Tuesday morning she came back to an unbelievable sight.  Her home untouched, the animals she had to leave behind, unharmed.  All surrounded by the blackness of burned wood and grass.  

"I mean, I was expecting the worst. I saw all of the blackness and all of that and we come here and it's just a little oasis in all of the blackness. And I was just really surprised by it," Blake said. "At that point I just felt like one of the most fortunate people ever."

In the midst of all of the chaos of leaving on Monday, Blake left behind two things that were very special to her, her saddles.  

How she found them when she returned, brought her to tears.

"I had just thrown them in the trailer, right? Because I had to get out. It's that extra little thought. Somebody obviously knew that's somebody's saddle, it must mean something, I'm going to go find a place to put it."

She said it is a small, but incredible, act of kindness that shows the thoughtfulness of the men and women working to keep them safe.

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