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Vacationing Bend family talks of fire evacuation

By Barney Lerten
Published On: Jul 21 2013 05:25:01 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 21 2013 10:49:49 PM CDT
Kah-Nee-Ta fire Kelly Hardgrave

Kelly Hardgrave

Kah-Nee-Ta visitor Kelly Hardgrave said her family, staying in a teepee, first was told they'd have a few hours notice of evacuation, but at 2 a.m. Sunday 'they came by and said NOW! My 6-year-old didn't make it out with his shoes - we bolted. Bikes and all camping stuff still at the teepee.'

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. -

A Bend family's teepee vacation at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation got cut short in the middle of the night Sunday as a wildfire threatened the area, giving them a different sort of summer trip to remember.

Kelly Hardgrave said they were staying in one of the resort village's teepees when the evacuation happened early Sunday, less than 24 hours after the Sunnyside Turnoff fire ignited, racing across some 10,000 acres in less than 14 hours.

Hardgrave said it was the second night of their first visit to Kah-Nee-Ta, with two other families. One stayed with them in the teepee and the other in an RV, with six kids total, ages 5 to 9, who she said "weren't too scared" by what was happening so close by.

"My husband was on a Hotshot crew in college, so he was watching closely and was ready for each next move," Hardgrave wrote on her Facebook page.

She said they had been told "that IF we were evacuated, we'd have a few hours' notice."

"But at 2 a.m. they came by and said NOW!," said Hardgrave, who shared a photo of the fiery view from the parking lot, taken as they evacuated about an hour later.

"My 6-year-old, Max, didn't make it out with his shoes -- we bolted," she wrote. "Bikes and all camping stuff still at the teepee."

"They told us to go to the lodge up on the hill, opposite the ridge that the fire had just crested," Hardgrave said. "We were there for about an hour, watching the fire spread and jump the river. When the power went out, we decided to go."

"When we got to the parking lot, theĀ  security guards told us they were evacuating the lodge and to just head for the highway because the fire had passed and the road had reopened," she said.

"We got home at 5:30 am. Kids had their first 'all-nighter"! We will go back when it's safe and get all our stuff."

Hardgrave said other than the cutting short of their vacation stay, their Kah-Nee-Ta visit "was great. Nice facilities up there too! Big clean bathrooms, showers, pools, water slides, etc."

While they didn't get all the photos they'd like of their teepee vacation, Hardgrave said she's "pretty sure the kids will remember" the visit anyway -- for some very unexpected reasons.

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