Cheney Free Press -


Fire tales: 'Man, that's going to get really big, really quick'


Harlan Shellabarger

A tent city emerged Sunday morning at Cheney High School as firefighters from around the region and other states set up camp to fight the Watermelon Hill blaze.

For Pete and Teri Jo Christianson at Badger Lake, the worst of the Watermelon Hill fire closed in late Saturday night through early Sunday morning, but in the end passed them by.

As the resident manager at Badger Lake Estates, Teri Jo was changing her lawn sprinklers around 3:30 p.m. when she noticed some ominous smoke to the west. She drove to the ranch of friends Genny and Mike McKinley at Amber Lake, much closer to the blaze. Mike McKinley was gone, called to fire duty as a volunteer with District 3. Both women agreed the nearby smoke "didn't look good" but when they turned around to lo...

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