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ELY-Ash fell like snow in Ely on Thursday afternoon during a quick-moving forest fire burning near County Highway 1, residents say.Nine fire departments responded with air support and, by late afternoon, the 100 acre blaze looked under control.That was not the story closer to 2:30 p.m. when everything past 12th Avenue East and White Street was to be cleared. Now evacuations have been called off.Helicopters still soared over Ely’s Softball Fields by 6:30 p.m., beating back smoldering areas.“A few hours ago it was green out there and as you can see it’s not anymore,” Sam Richter, of Ely, said.Other residents add it happened very quickly.“All of a sudden there was this big black ball of smoke,” Seraphi Nerolando, of Ely, said.“Coming up from the South,” says resident Donna Hway, “...you could see just billowing, billowing clouds blowing north so there’s concern for the town of course.”“You couldn’t see,” adds Richter. “The town was just engulfed in smoke. It smelled like a barbeque everywhere.”The fire fight started near a power line that was downed in strong winds, according to preliminary reports.Those same 20-30 mph gusts pushed the forest flames along quickly – bringing nine fire departments along the city’s Southeast side.“Planes were flying back and forth, the big bombers and helicopters,” Nerolando said.“I think they’re doing perimeter now and then the hot spots and all that,” Richter said, overlooking the work from Ely Cemetery. “The big chopper there has got the big spray and then the little ones with the buckets are dropping on the hot spots and then picking up from the swamps and little ponds,” Richter said.“I think that it’s not a threat anymore so that’s good,” Hway said.Responders put out information in agreement.An Ely evacuation was called off as ground crews continue work with heavy machinery, spotted but witnesses.But fire allegedly took down multiple structures in the now-restricted area, neighbors say, making this Ely’s most destructive fire in years.“I mean, I didn’t really see any flames but it was just heavy, heavy smoke,” Nerolando adds.An emergency response is expected to continue on Friday.