MARION COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — Homes and properties have been charred to ashes in one of the Oregon communities hit hardest by wildfires.
The Beachie Creek Fire has consumed 190,000 acres and was 15% contained by Tuesday, officials said. It left little standing in the town of Lyons about 25 miles southeast of Salem in Marion County.
One of the homes saved by firefighters was that of Brian Yarberry’s son. Yarberry told KOIN 6 News the family has returned to the home to protect it from criminals.
The house was surrounded by scorched earth, blackened trees and destroyed buildings. Heavy smoke lingered in the air as a reminder of the hazards that still remained.
But Yarberry said with so many people displaced and many towns largely empty, the biggest threat is to his home, not his health.
“Residents, some of us stayed,” he said. “To protect the property as much as we could. It’s hard to put into words, some of us was lucky, some of us were not. There’s nothing anyone could have done about it.”
The area was under Level 3 evacuation orders until earlier Tuesday when the restrictions were eased to Level 2, allowing residents to return to their properties. Many returned to find their homes gone.