Residents of NM town relieved to return home

Town threatened by Silver Fire

POSTED: 08:45 PM MDT Jul 02, 2013    UPDATED: 11:14 AM MDT Jul 18, 2014 

Residents of Kingston, N.M., are relieved to return home after being evacuated because of the Silver Fire.

Less than 30 people call the small town home. Life is normally calm and quiet. Laundry hangs on clothing lines. Neighbors know each other by first name.

When the Silver Fire threatened the town, residents feared that kind of living would be over.

"It was kind of like mayhem when we were trying to get out of town, get trailers out and cars out. It did look like it could come into town. If the wind had picked up we would have had a big problem," said Owen Jones, a Kingston resident.

Charred patches of forest surround the small town, signs of how close to danger it was.

"Words cannot describe the relief we all feel. I really feel like the hand of God was working for us in terms of the east wind that was blowing the entire time Kingston was threatened," said Katherine Waneck, another Kingston resident.

Fire officials said that wind helped keep the fire away from the town. Firefighters also worked hard to cut down and burn trees in the area.

Kingston residents were evacuated for 10 days. They were worried about more than saving their homes -- they did not want to lose all the New Mexico history within the town.

"It's said that Kingston was once the largest city in the whole territory of New Mexico back in the 1880s when they found silver here. It was a silver mining boom town. People came from all over the world," Waneck said.

The town's residents are returning to life as usual.

"We don't have any fear of fire coming through here anytime within the next 100 years. It's made Kingston safe," Jones said.

With many major wildfires comes the threat of flooding. Residents in Kingston and Hillsboro need help protecting the area. They are looking for volunteers to help fill sandbags. If you'd like to help, you can contact the Hillsboro Fire Department at 575-895-5368.