Wildfire evacuees grateful to be allowed back into homes

Victoria Spilabotte

Photo Courtesy: Carla Volz Diaz

Wildfire evacuees grateful to be allowed back into homes

CREATED Jul. 15, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- On Monday morning, Lee Canyon residents filed through a checkpoint near mile marker 12, where they showed proof of residence to return home.

The canyon reopened to residents and employees of the Ski Lodge after people were forced to evacuate on July 4 when the Carpenter 1 wildfire spilled over the ridge line.

According to officials, there are 50 residents who live in Lee Canyon full-time or part-time.

Residents said they had to stay with family and friends for 10 days as they waited to find out what happened to their homes.

"The first couple of days it was scary, but we had full confidence in the firefighters," said Jaena Bernhardt.

Bernhardt has lived in the canyon for more than a decade and her family has been evacuated for fire danger before. As she went though the checkpoint, a big "thank you" was written on the back of her car for the firefighters.

"We're so thankful," she said. "We could never repay them for saving our homes and our communities."

Lee Canyon will reopen to the public on Friday, according to officials.