Sawmill Fire evacuee: 'I can sleep and I'm relieved' - Tucson News Now

Sawmill Fire evacuee: 'I can sleep and I'm relieved'

People living and working in Sonoita are relieved that evacuation orders have been lifted (Source: Tucson News Now). People living and working in Sonoita are relieved that evacuation orders have been lifted (Source: Tucson News Now).
The Sawmill Fire is 89% contained as of Saturday evening (Source: Tucson News Now). The Sawmill Fire is 89% contained as of Saturday evening (Source: Tucson News Now).
SONOITA, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Fire officials on the Sawmill Fire are in the process of releasing multiple personnel and crews after announcing containment of the fire has increased to 89 percent on Saturday, April 29. 617 personnel were on the job Saturday, down from the 799 fighting the Sawmill Fire at its worst.

And as they head home, people who live and work just down the road are doing the same.

The wine was flowing at Sonoita Vineyards Saturday afternoon at the tasting room on Elgin Canelo Road in Elgin. Gayle Hurley couldn't have been more thrilled to be back at work.

"It's been the most stressful week I can say that I've had in a long time. It was terrifying. There were moments of complete terror," Hurley said. "We would sit there from a distance, with binoculars at night, and we didn't know if our house was being burned or not."

It seemed her community was the focal point for evacuations, and Hurley followed orders at her Rain Valley home.

The Sawmill Fire sparked up Sunday, April 23, and has burned 46,991 acres in the Coronado National Forest, as of Saturday, April 29.

Hurley was able to return recently when the evacuation order was lifted to see the charred land.

"Fire came within a half-mile of my house. It was pretty scary," Hurley said.

But as of Saturday, fire officials said there are still no reports of homes destroyed. With roads open, including State Route 83 to the winery, it's a chance to get tastings back to normal.

"Definitely from a business sense, you know. I mean, our business relies on customers getting here and not being afraid to come here. So that makes a big difference," said Linda Carroll, the tasting room manager.

It's also a chance to get back to normalcy for those, like Hurley, who took solace inside.

"I'm worn out. I'm tired. I feel like I've just run a marathon, emotionally and physically. And then I'm here at work," she said with a laugh. "But it's nice to feel that I can sleep now. I can sleep and I'm relieved."

According to fire officials, the pre-evacuation notice will be lifted in Hurley's community of Rain Valley as of 6 a.m. Sunday.

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