Highway opens despite continuing blaze

Fires continue to burn near Walker, Calif., 60 miles south of Carson City, but Highway 395 is expected again to reopen this morning.

However, officials warn motorists to expect delays, because groups of cars will be led through by the highway patrol.

The Cannon fire, which began June 15, has destroyed 22,750 acres and is 85 percent contained. There are 1,155 firefighters on the scene and, so far, the cost has reached $7.3 million.

Fire information officer Sharon Soule said the fire is not expected to grow, but it will continue burning internally.

Even as the fire creeps along, a pair of Walker restaurant owners are planning a fund-raiser for Saturday to benefit the families of the three men who died June 17 in the blaze.

Pilot Steve Wass and crew members Craig Labare and Michael Davis were killed when their C-130A air tanker lost its wings and crashed into a field while fighting the fire.

Mountain View Barbeque will donate all the proceeds raised at the barbecue Saturday to the Cannon Fire Memorial Fund, which will benefit the men's families.

Jeff Hinds, co-owner of Mountain View Barbeque, said the company that owned the plane, Hawkins & Powers Aviation Inc., will match whatever money they raise at the barbecue and donate as well.

"I'm sure the families have been devastated by this," Hinds said. "Our little community is not going to let them down."

Tickets for the barbecue are $15, which gives participants all the food they can eat. There will also be a raffle and a silent auction, with prizes such as ski and golf passes and overnight packages for casinos.

Hinds also said two bands, Riff Raff and Promise, will play at the barbecue.

The bass player from Promise was a friend of Wass, and will be performing a song she wrote for him.

"It's really important to have a lot of people come down," Hinds said. "It's an amazing thing that they risk their life for people they don't know."

Hinds said there will be plenty of food. Sierra Meats is donating half of the beef for the barbecue, and Hinds said he is cooking enough for 1,500 people.

The barbecue will be from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, at Mountain View Barbeque, on Highway 395 in Walker.


What: Barbecue to benefit families of pilots who died in the Cannon fire

When: Saturday, June 29, noon to 9 p.m.

Where: Mountain View Barbeque, Walker, Calif.

Information: 530-495-2107

To make a donation to the families of the pilots send a check to: Cannon Fire Memorial Fund, in care of Eastern Sierra Community Bank, Acct # 004-101-251, P.O. Box 517, Bridgeport, CA 93517


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