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Emergency shelter ready to welcome Hagg Lake fire evacuees

Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - Red Cross volunteers get their marching orders as they prepare to welcome displaced residents from the Scoggins Creek Fire. No evacuees stayed overnight Friday as the blaze continued to spread.It was a quiet night at Dilley Elementary School south of Forest Grove, which is just the way the Red Cross likes it. As the Hagg Lake fire spread quickly yesterday afternoon, Red Cross volunteers, who had just shut down their operations in Estacada, scrambled to set up an emergency shelter at the school.

And although they had a few inquiries from those evacuated from the fire zone, none of the residents ended up using the five cots which were set up in the gym.

"We want to be here if they need us," said volunteer Ann Henderson. "But we hope they don't." With the fire still burning, the shelter will remain open at least through this evening.

One of the first volunteers to arrive was Jerry Mahoney, who lives nearby in Forest Grove, where he and his wife watched the smoke rising above the hills west of town.

"We could see the smoke from our deck as the sun was setting," he said. "It was beautiful, but we knew it was going to be bad."

So, Mahoney, a member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team was expecting the call that came in at about 6:30. About a half-hour later, he was at the school, setting up the cots and putting out other provisions.

He was still there at 8:30 this morning when a new team of volunteers showed up to staff the shelter.

Among them was another nearby resident, Janet Bailey, of North Plains, a long-time Red Cross volunteer who had been helping out at the shelter in Estacada, where families displaced by the 36 Pit Fire had been staying.

She said settling in at Dilley School, which is about 10 miles from North Plains, was a bit more emotional.

“It’s different when it’s in your neighborhood,” she said.

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