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Man Trapped by Wild Fires Returns Home

Man Trapped by FireNEAR GALICE, Ore. — A Southern Oregon man, trapped at his hotel business for 16 days, is now safe, and back in his wife’s arms.

The co-owner of the Black Bar Lodge near Bear Camp Road was essentially trapped by the Big Windy Fire. Thursday, after more than 2 weeks, conditions were finally safe enough for fire crews to escort him out of the fire zone.

The trouble is that the 15,700-acre Big Windy Complex burned nearly to the back door of his lodge, and over parts of the only road leading to it. John James spoke exclusively with NewsWatch 12 after making it through the fire zone Thursday.

“Home sweet home” never had a deeper meaning than it did Thursday afternoon for John James. James had been at the Black Bar Lodge which he co-owns with his wife since Tuesday, July 30th.

With Bear Camp Road shut down and determined to be too dangerous to use, James was stuck at the lodge while his wife was stuck on the outside of the fire. James says in all, he is glad he was able to be there to help fire crews and assist in any way he could, but as the days passed he wanted the fire to be over with.

“It started to ware on me, not so much being at the lodge for two and a half weeks, but just that anticipation. I got to the point, it was like, you know, if it’s going to happen, just let it happen,” said Black Bar Lodge Co-Owner John James.

After calling off an escort attempt Wednesday, fire crews were able to escort James along Bear Camp Road and back to safety. He says although the area around his lodge is burned, he says it’s safe and in good hands. As firefighters continue to battle the Big Windy Fire, Bear Camp Road continues to be closed.