Hondo Fire
Steve Hinton

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Lama Resident Refuses to Evacuate

Lama - They were going to have their daughters wedding in the meadow by the home that they built their lives around. But that reality is gone with the fire that swept through Lama Sunday May 5. Steve Hinton refused to leave his home when orders for the evacuation came in. His family was safely of the mountain while Hinton was watching the slurry tankers fly over his house. "I didn't take it to seriously" and "wasted time watching the slurry bombers." The heat was getting so intense Hinton doused himself in the ditch next to his home and as he was heading back to protect the house from the fire he heard explosions in the air and he realized "a huge red ball" was roaring towards him. He had just enough time to jump in his truck and with the wheels burning, drive across the grass field and there, he dove into the ditch as the fire rolled over him and torched the field. "It was so smokley and the air was full of explosions" Hinton reminisces of his close call with death.

After the fire passed Hinton leapt out of the ditch and queched the flames of his burning truck. With one quick look he saw his house devastated be the fire in the midst of the surreal moonscape but, Hinton did not have time to think because his son's house was burning. Hinton with shovel in hand began to peel the ply wood from the house with his friend Scott MacHardy who snuck past police into Lama to help. Hinton was thankful to see another "human" and with buckets of water they subdued the fire and saved the house.

Hinton and MacHardy headed up the road and were able to protect three other structures from burning. As Hinton finally made his way back to his home there was only a skeleton of baked adobe left and ironically the fireplce stood untouched. Their family home of twenty five years had been torched within minutes, only charred pots and pans and melted glass were left in the rubble testifying to the awesome force and intensity of the fire. Miraculously, the studio of Hinton's wife Carol was safe, just below the house. The fires path had run its course in a norht east direction which spared the building.

As the Family stands reunited the day after, Monday May 6, Hinton with burns to his hands and face covered in soot and ash looks over the mountains and sighs with the words "it's a different landscape now."

As Reported by: Asia Golden, Freelance Writer