Possum Kingdom Fire: One Year Later
GRAHAM (CBSDFW.COM) – One year after fires burned in Possum Kingdom Lake you will still find charred wood, piles of debris, empty slabs that used to hold homes. But that is up close.
Business owners, realtors, and residents chartered a boat Thursday, trying to show that over all, PK Lake is okay. The frames of new homes are taking shape on The Cliffs. Fifty of the 206 homes that burned have already been rebuilt. The average rebuild, according to the Chamber of Commerce, is two–thirds bigger than before.
“We do have new people coming in,” said realtor Jackie Fewell. “In Sportsman’s World alone we have four rebuilds that have nothing to do with the fire.”
Builder Mark Anderson said he has eight homes under construction right now, and three more that are close to starting. “There’s no question it’s a lot more personal and you’re trying to help them more than you ever have,” he said.
Over two weeks, the PK complex fires burned 127-thousand acres, and destroyed 167 homes. A second fire in August destroyed another 39 homes. The tourism-dependent community though, was determined to rebuild.
“I hope they forget about it because the lake is fine,” said Jay Naylor, who owns a boat rental business. The rebuilding focus has turned to businesses like Naylor’s. The pontoon boat he was captaining Thursday was built brand new last year. It was only rented out though three times. Most of the businesses in the area depend on money made from Memorial Day to Labor Day to survive the rest of the year.
“We still have the same amount of cabins the same amount of boat rentals,” he said. “Everybody’s ready.”
The Chamber of Commerce is rolling out a new marketing campaign to help, with the slogan “It’s All Right Here.” They said Easter weekend crowds were promising, and could be a good sign that visitors are eager to return to the area.