West Fork fire threatens lifelong resident’s home, business and sense of place

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By the time Teddi Hyde, owner of Bobtail Lodge Bed and Breakfast, was served a pre-evacuation notice due to the encroaching West Fork fire late Saturday morning, she’d already called and told her Saturday overnight guests not to come.

“It’s I’d say about three miles from our house,” Hyde said in a phone interview shortly after 11:30 a.m. “It looks like it’s pretty out of control.”

Only residents were being allowed along Bobtail Road north of where it intersects with Hutton Drive and Bobtail Cutoff Road, she said, and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies were advising them all to prepare to evacuate should authorities deem it necessary.

“For us, I’m not extremely worried because there’s a field between us and the mountainside,” Hyde said. “But there’s always, who knows … I’m really truly not that concerned, (but) I probably should be.”

It’s not that Hyde hasn’t prepared. She said her important papers are contained in a file cabinet, ready to be grabbed and taken at a moment’s notice, and she turned on all her sprinklers to dampen the ground around her bed and breakfast home. Her brother, who lives farther up the road, might stop by with his plow to build a fire break along her field as he did at his place. And a few years ago, she had fire reduction measures taken in her nearby woods to make them less dense with fuels.

“You do what you can,” Hyde said, always knowing in the back of her mind that someday a forest fire might threaten her home and livelihood.

Born and raised in the area, Hyde said “it’s just really sad” to contemplate how the fire will alter the nearby mountainsides she’s always known and loved.

“If something happens, the stuff that’s burning now we will never see again in our lifetime on that particular hill,” she said. “It makes you want to cry when you think, ‘Oh my god, what’s this going to do to my whole perspective on where I’ve lived all my life?’”

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