Nine Months After a Wildfire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Nine Months After a Wildfire

DAYTON, Wash.- Nine months ago, fire ravaged more than 100,000 acres just outside Dayton.

The fire destroyed crops, timber and even a man's home, and since then, people have been working to restore the land.

At one point the Columbia Complex fire was considered the highest wildfire priority in the nation.

Thousands of firefighters from as far away as Australia were called in to help battle the blaze, and now, nine months later, the community is still rebuilding.

Today, the scene's a little more serene than it was, but no less depressing.

"It was a huge fire," said Jim Sueuga with Columbia REA.

The wheat's grown back but the logging industry hasn't.

Hundreds of thousands of trees were destroyed in the fire, so now, they're being harvested decades before they would have been.

"It's a lot of extra work," said Josh Bowen, who owns timber.

Bowen was forced to cut down some of his trees, and those that are left aren't out of the woods yet.

Lester Eaton's family lost their home in the fire, and most of the heirlooms inside.

Since then it's been a battle against the state to rebuild, but local support has helped keep him together.

"I got knocked down and said I'm just getting up to dust myself off and get back in the game," Eaton said.

The fire cost more than $33 million to fight.

It grew from the local government, to the state, all the way up to being the federal government's number one priority fire for about a week.

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