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July 23, 2012 06:02 PM

Evacuated Residents Return To Homes

Pringle, SD

Fire crews have gotten a good handle on the Myrtle Fire, which has burned more than 10,000 acres and is officially 40 percent contained.  Now, all of the home evacuations have been lifted.

None of the more than 200 homes evacuated were damaged by the fire.  Residents credit that to the speed and skill of those fighting the blaze.

'Home, sweet home.'  It's a phrase being uttered by the families returning to their houses along Highway 385 where the Myrtle Fire has been burning since last Thursday.

"When we came back, we had our fingers crossed and didn't know what had happened.  We expected to have a lot of the trees burn up, but it didn't get us," resident Tim White said.

"The northern edge of the fire is pretty much wrapped up.  We did have the Tatanka Hot Shots along Highway 385 this morning cleaning out some hazard trees and looking for some potential hot spots along there, also," fire information officer Kellie Stover said.

White lives on Beaver Creek Road, not far from where the fire started.  He evacuated his home Thursday night and watched the action from Pringle.

"We went into town and just hung around town with everybody else that got booted out of here.  It was quite a show," White said.

The fire burned right up to the edge of White's property.  But thanks to the hard work of firefighters that's where it stopped.

"They certainly have a great reputation around here.  They saved every structure and really, all of our property didn't get touched and you can see it's right across the road," White said.

It's a sentiment echoed by others in the area.

"People have been really patient and really kind and we really appreciate that.  I know the firefighters are out there working as hard as they can to get this thing wrapped up," Stover said.

There are still more than 600 fire personnel working on the Myrtle Fire.  That number is expected to decrease as the level of containment grows.

Full containment is expected to happen by Wednesday.

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