Fire evacuees take it one day at a time - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fire evacuees take it one day at a time

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Ellensburg, WASH.--Firefighters are still actively doing structure protection in the community of Liberty and the surrounding areas, and some people are no closer to going home.

Patricia Burt said, "We were out there in the lightning storm, and I mean we spent all night watching because you just knew the lightning hit."

Patricia Burt and her husband were staying at a campsite near Liberty. When they tried to re-enter the site last week, officers told them to turn right back around. Pat Thomason said his evacuation story is very similar. He was driving back to Liberty from Moses Lake, when he realized he wasn't going to make it back home.

Thomason said, "I can't do nothing about it, and my other half is totally devastated. She's not even on camera because it's so emotional."

American Red Cross volunteers said over ten people have checked into the shelter in Ellensburg. For most evacuees, this experience is all to similar to that of the Taylor Bridge Fire last month.

"We're pretty tired of it," said Thomason. "We would like to get to where we could have some stability to evaluate and move on with something positive, and you just can't do that in this situation."

The shelter's day side supervisor, Jill Becker, said, "All of them say that exact thing, what's going on?"

The Kittitas County Public Health Department installed three air filters in the shelter at Mercer Creek Church. Volunteers said this is some of the cleanest air you can get.

"I had a couple come in to see how we were doing yesterday," said Becker. "She went 'oh,' 'oh.' I said sit down and enjoy it, that's what this is for."

Firefighters said burnout operations near Liberty could make the smoke worse over the weekend.

If people are having trouble with the worsened air quality, they are encouraged to use the shelter in Ellensburg and take advantage of the clean air.