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Residents watch and worry

Tim Parsons, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Memory Lane resident Bill Rennison was watering his lawn when he witnessed what might have been the plane that crashed in the Hawley Grade area.

“It was 8, 8:30 when I saw this plane flying up the valley,” he said. “I thought to myself that the engine sounded weird. It wasn’t sputtering but (its sound) was changing pitches.

Rennison described the plane as a single-engine with dark colors.



“I thought he must have been OK because if anything was wrong, he would have turned around and gone to the airport.”

Rennison was at the intersection of Memory Lane and South Upper Truckee Road on Tuesday afternoon, where California Highway Patrol Officer Wayne Himmelrick had the road blocked.



A group of neighbors which at times grew to a couple of dozen looked down the valley as the fire spread and smoke blew toward them.

Cindy Anderson shared binoculars with fellow Memory Lane resident Lezlie Martin. “Hopefully, I’ll still be living on Memory Lane at the end of this,” she said.

Anderson had gathered “pictures, paintings and her mom’s china” in case she had to evacuate her home.

“I’ve got three dogs, three cats, friends staying and I’m taking care of my neighbor’s parakeet,” she said.

Jackie Marshall had a larger concern. She took her horse across the street to the home of a friend who had a trailer.

The high school senior was staying at the house by herself while her parents camped at Yosemite. However, her grandparents came over from Nez Perce Drive and the three loaded items from the house to an SUV.

“We brought out pictures and papers — what else do you take?” asked Lloyd Wing. “The animals are out. Everything else is replaceable.”

Rennison, who was walking down the street with Andy Williams, had a suggestion for Marshall. He said she could tie her horse to his front yard fence. That way he could ride out if the fire came close. Otherwise, he wasn’t about to leave.

“I’ll stand there with a hose in my hand,” he said. “They’ll have to run me out. At my age, I don’t give a damn.”

At the roadblock two trucks carrying Plumas County hotshots drove through. An animal control officer came back from retrieving a dog from a Forest Service cabin. Residents rode up on bicycles and talked to their neighbors.

“The smoke was just clearing up,” said Buster Yure. “I thought the wind must have changed directions, then I realized it was fresh smoke.”

Egret Way resident Bart Funk watched the fire and offered a Mountain Dew to the officer.

“I’ve packed my clothes and papers, that’s all I need,” he said. “It’s just another day in paradise. Somebody should make margaritas.”


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