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News >  Idaho

Bayview residents watch, wait and worry

"This is terrible," said Brian Mock as he uses a garden hose to dampen the bushes in front of cabins at MacDonald's Hudson Bay Resort in Bayview on Monday, July 6, 2014. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
"This is terrible," said Brian Mock as he uses a garden hose to dampen the bushes in front of cabins at MacDonald's Hudson Bay Resort in Bayview on Monday, July 6, 2014. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
BAYVIEW — Ralph Jones fried eggs and bacon for weary Bayview residents Monday morning, the scent of burning pine wafting in his coffee shop near downtown. “This is our biggest fear come true,” Jones said. The longtime Bayview resident kept his restaurant open overnight as firefighters battled the blaze that sparked Sunday afternoon. Several residents speculated that the fire was caused by an out of control campfire, which Jones called disheartening. “The rest of my life has changed,” he said. Business in the resort community lasts about 7 to 8 weeks, he said, and he worried the fire would move into town as winds picked up in the afternoon. Dave Hamilton was one of Jones’ customers. He owns a cabin that has been in his family since the 1950s, right in the path of the fire. “It’s the only place I own in the world,” he said. Read more: Six structures destroyed in Bayview fire; governor declares it a disaster area

Hamilton said he’ll wait in Sandpoint to see what happens to the cabin. A hundred firefighters are on the ground and the blaze had not been contained at all as of Monday morning, when it had grown to 2,000 acres. Lynn Neubauer sat in a plastic chair at JD’s Tavern, watching the smoke blow in from a stiff northeasterly breeze late Monday morning. “Nature takes its course,” she said, drumming fingers together with nails painted red, white and blue for the holiday. “All we can do is pray everyone is alright.” Neubauer’s home had been spared overnight, she learned from relatives that had hiked into the hills northeast of town. She’s lived in Bayview for 27 years and never seen flames this close, she said. Marie Streater sat next to her, waiting for a shift at the nearby mercantile store to begin at 2 p.m. She said she didn’t plan on leaving town. “It looked like a bomb zone, a complete warzone,” Streater said of the hillside Sunday night, hot spots illuminated in the dark of the evening. She stayed awake until 3 a.m., taking calls from concerned neighbors and watching the flames from the balcony of her home outside Bayview’s main drag. Down the road, Sheila Bixenstein waited for her husband, Frank, to bring back her daughter’s dog, Doug. The pooch was left behind Monday morning when her son-in-law returned to the evacuated home on the north shore of the lake to grab some items for his wife’s parents. “When you live in town, you don’t pay attention as much. But out here, we live it,” said Sheila Bixenstein, who moved to the area a decade ago from Rathdrum. Doug and Frank Bixenstein came shuffling down the hill as she looked on in the family’s SUV. Many of the town’s occupants, some of them seasonal residents and others year-rounders, sat on chairs eating, chatting and drinking, waiting for word on evacuations from officials as planes and helicopters buzzed overhead, the skyline obscured by thick white smoke.

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