Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, August 16 2012 at 5:01 PM, Updated: Thu, August 16 2012 at 5:18 PM
125 square miles have now been burned by the 'Barry Point' fire burning in Lake County Oregon, and Modoc County, California.
Ron Hotchkiss is helping to set up a pen to load cattle that had been grazing in the Dog Lake area, just a short distance from there the fire started ten days ago.
"We lost one for sure. She came into this field back here behind you, and laid down and died. So I'm not sure if it's smoke got to her, or what."
Hotchkiss adds that it's the worst fire he's seen in his 63 years in the area. "I've never been associated with anything like this. It's pretty devastating."
The Barry Point fire has now grown 10 miles into California.
Strong activity on the east side of the fire has threatened a cabin owned by Sherry Lasota of the Westside Country Store...
"Real nervous. But we've been so busy trying to make everybody else feel better that we keep laughing about it. And, it's real scary. But when you build a house in the middle of nowhere, Mother Nature is going to do these kinds of things to you."
Ashley Dubrey of the Oregon Department of Forestry reports that 1400 firefighters are working to put out the 79,000 acre fire...
"So right now, we're 30% contained, and we're estimated to be contained by the 25th of this month."
Dubrey notes that the fire has threatened over 60 homes. "But the great thing is, nothing's been lost yet."
And Ron Hotchkiss and others are grateful for the efforts of the firefighters...
"They've been friendly, accommodating, and just great people to work with."
"And putting their lives in danger for us." Adds Sherry Lasota. "It's just amazing. We are so thankful for that."
The Barry Point fire was sparked by a lightning storm that passed through the area on the fifth of this month.
The cost of fighting the fire has now reached 8.5 million dollars.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.