LOS ALAMOS, N.M. - Jaret McDonald has been evacuated from his home because of fires three times before. But this time it was different.
''This is the first time I felt fear,'' the 28-year-old lifelong resident of Los Alamos said. ''When you're against Mother Nature, you can't contain it. You'll lose every time.''
He was one of the 11,000 residents of this town who had to pack and up and flee Wednesday as a fire raged out of control toward Los Alamos. A thick shroud of smoke swept over the city. At least 80 perecent of the town had left by nightfall.
''It's black and white and brown and it's all trailing toward the townsite,'' said Anna Casperson, owner of the Castillo del Alba bed and breakfast in nearby White Rock.
Casperson opened up her bed and breakfast free of charge to anyone who has been displaced. ''This is the least we could do,'' she said.
''I have all this food left over from Y2K,'' she said.
The Cities of Gold Casino Hotel in nearby Pojoaque Pueblo was opened to accept evacuees. The hotel was full Wednesday night.
''We're just hanging out here,'' said Richard Smith, an engineer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He and his wife, Deborah, have been staying at the hotel since Sunday, along with their two dogs.
''We've got two labs and two hamsters and two kids and two of us ... The fish are at home,'' said Renne Randolph, who was standing near her blue-and-white pickup giving water to her two dogs.
''We had the truck all loaded, waiting for this to happen,'' said her husband, Blaine Randolph.
Jeffrey and Nan Sauer were taking the two black labs.
''We're getting things together that we want to take. Tax records and pictures - things that we can't replace,'' Sauer said.
The fire went out of control after the National Park Service set it last week to clear brush at the nearby Bandelier National Monument. The Los Alamos nuclear laboratory, Los Alamos schools and county offices have been closed for three days.
Soon after the evacuations were announced, two neighbors stood in the front yards of their bungalow homes commiserating. They were angry; this all happened because of a controlled burn that got out of control.
''I think it stinks,'' said Jim Keane, 33. ''It's the third fire I've been through. I'm going to my daughter's in White Rock,'' a town nearby.
His neighbor, Nancy Welborne, has lived in Los Alamos for 10 years. ''I don't believe in controlled burns. This really makes me mad,'' she said.
''I've got four dogs and I've got to go down to my daughter's in Albuquerque.''
The fire has raged out of control after the National Park Service set it last week to clear brush at the nearby Bandelier National Monument. The Los Alamos nuclear laboratory, Los Alamos schools and county offices have been closed for three days.
The fire uprooted this town of over 11,000, stalling traffic as people tried to gather their belongings and leave. Law enforcement officials went door-to-door telling people they had to get out as soon as possible.
In spite of the mass evacuation, people left in an orderly fashion and there were no traffic accidents.
''We are down to our last 20 rooms,'' said Janine Shelton, general manager of the Hotel Loretto in Santa Fe. ''We're prepared to do whatever we have to do. We want to be good neighbors.''
AP staffers Matt Mygatt and Deborah Baker contributed to this story.