Kyle Canyon residents adjusting to life after fire - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Kyle Canyon residents adjusting to life after fire

Mount Charleston Lodge prepares to welcome Kyle Canyon residents back with a free dinner on Friday evening. (Azenith Smith/FOX5) Mount Charleston Lodge prepares to welcome Kyle Canyon residents back with a free dinner on Friday evening. (Azenith Smith/FOX5)
MT. CHARLESON (FOX5) -

Mount Charleston was back in business on Friday, as the public was allowed to return for the first time since the Carpenter 1 fire forced a closure and evacuation.

Now 95 percent contained, the fire burned nearly 28,000 acres, and destroyed six structures in the Prospect Ranch area.

You can still see smoke coming from the ridge southwest of Kyle Canyon. Firefighters said the area still burning is remote and dangerous, and for now they will let it burn itself out while ensuring it doesn't spread.

Mount Charleston Lodge reopened Friday, the staff treating canyon residents to a free dinner. Many of those residents said it's a miracle they have homes to return to.

"I probably haven't slept through the night, just thinking about losing this house," Kyle Canyon resident Brenda Talley said.

Talley bought what she calls her dream home on Mount Charleston, after getting diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

"I painted murals on every wall. Knowing that could be lost … I knew I could not have recreated that. I spent months on that, when I was going through chemo," she said.

Talley said piles of ash greeted her and her neighbors, when they returned home earlier this week.

Kyle Canyon resident Pam Meranto said while she realizes the fire is all but over, she's worried about embers and the potential for flash floods this weekend.

"We had a flood probably five to eight years ago, real bad. The creek backed up, and it was going through the streets real fast. It was a mess under our house. Yes, we are worried," she said.

Fire official said they prepared fire lines between cliffs and structures, and have a team in place should a new fire ignite.

Talley is braced for whatever comes, and knows that life on the mountain won't ever be the same.

"When we see the burned-out trees gone, that's our sisters and our brothers. There's that loss, and we know in our lifetime, we won't see that grow back," she said.

The cost to battle the fire so far sits at more than $18 million.

Copyright 2013 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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