Cleghorn Canyon evacuees share perspective on current situation

The future of several neighborhoods is now in the air.
Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 4:41 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - More than 24 hours of uncertainty plagues the hundreds of people evacuated from their homes due to the Schroeder Fire.

As the fire continues to burn, more than 2100 acres, only 50% contained, two residents of Cleghorn Canyon gave insight into this devastating event.

”Gut-wrenching,” said Lisa McFarland, an evacuee. “I saw the plume of fire when I was at work in Black Hawk and got a little bit concerned when my managing broker at EXP contacted me and said I should have something to be concerned about.”

A concern that quickly turned into a real threat as Cleghorn Canyon was evacuated around 1 p.m. Monday.

One resident said all he could do was sit, wait, and get updates from a friend.

“Said that the fire was coming that way towards his house and my house and that fire people had been coming up and talking to him and then after a while, he said he could see it coming slowly and slowly and slowly until just after midnight,” said Lance Rom, an evacuee. “He said it was coming real fast and about 100 feet from his house.”

Like many others, Rom had no idea the state of his home and was prepared for the worst.

“He did tell me his house and my house were probably burned up, and it was pretty bad,” said Rom. “This morning, I was looking at reality listings for other homes, so I have a place to live, plus thinking about everything I lost. You know, the physical stuff isn’t that important, except for the memories and things like that.”

Rom’s neighbor, McFarland, said the same thing, she’s prepared for the worst.

“The last 24 hours have been a little bit gut-wrenching because you can’t focus on anything other than do you have a home left,” said McFarland. “So, we’re waiting to find that out right now.”

Hours after our interview, McFarland found a way around police barricades, walking up Cleghorn Canyon to find a small sense of relief.

Video from her perspective shows the neighborhood mostly intact, with much of the ground scorched or still burning, a reality she wasn’t prepared for.

“I really wasn’t. I know that you live in the Hills, you’ve got trees and everything, and this can possibly happen, but and that’s just something that of a concern when you live in the Black Hills that you could be in a fire. It’s just one of those things you live with, and thank God for what you have.”

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