Junction Fire Affecting Residents, Tourists, Businesses

Published 08/19 2014 07:45PM

Updated 08/19 2014 07:47PM

People living in the Oakhurst area  are dealing with a fire that for some is as close as their front yards.

"Really scary. Really scary. We sat and watched for quite a while off my back deck," says Oakhurst resident Ernie Bender.

He and his wife did not evacuate. But he says he was up most of the night watching the fire grow. 

"All of a sudden, over on the hillside over here we saw a huge cloud of smoke and fire," Bender says. 

At the Coarsegold Community Center, evacuees spend the day and night away from their homes that are too close to the danger zone. 

Gary owns the Pine Rose Inn in Oakhurst, and he, like many others staying there, had to leave. 

"I waited as long as I could. I couldn't find my cats. I was worried more about helping a friend out," Gary says. 

Volunteers from the community and the Red Cross also poured in, including Madison Weber, a Yosemite High School student whose school was closed because of the fire. 

"It's devastating. It is very devastating that the town I grew up in is just getting burned to the ground," Weber says. 

The center is providing shelter not only for locals but for those vacationing who are now dealing with a change of plans. 

"Unexpected, unexpected," says Dave Greek about his vacation. 

Evacuees who were staying at the Coarsegold Community Center are now being relocated to the Yosemite Lake Parks Community Church. They are also providing shelter for small animals. 

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