Destroyed vehicles in Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Hundreds of homeowners in the Santiam Canyon returned home Wednesday to see if their homes were still standing.

The air was thick with smoke and the sky was a shade of orange as sirens from fire trucks wailed in the distance. Deputies turned away traffic on Highway 22, which is now closed from Stayton to Santiam Junction because of fire hazards and downed trees.

The communities of Gates and Detroit were hit hardest while many parts of Mill City were left unscathed. In Mehama, the iconic Gingerbread Restaurant survived the fire.

-Saphara Harrell

A burned home in Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Burned trailers at the command center at Gates Elementary School on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A pedestrian bridge in Mill City on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A garage door is all that remains of a home in Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A destroyed house in Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The remains of the Oregon Department of Forestry North Cascade Santiam unit headquarters on Highway 22 on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Firefighters pick up a tent that had blown over a fence at the Gates Elementary School on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A burned building at the Oak Park Motel in Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Braden Cook stands outside of his parent's home after stopping back into Mill City to check on it following the evacuation on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Burned and unburned tomatoes next to a burned home in Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A destroyed historic egg hatchery on the property of Michael and Lori Chauran in Mehama on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A destroyed home on Jennie Road in Mehama on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A stranded helicopter at the Davis airport outside of Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Firefighters pick up the remains of a destroyed fire command at the Gates Elementary School on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

U.S. Forest Service personnel at the Davis Airport outside of Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Firefighters pick up a tent that had blown over a fence at the Gates Elementary School on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Gates Elementary School main building on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Diane Pantovich, owner of the Gingerbread House in Mehama, returned to check on her property after hearing rumors that it had burned on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Gingerbread House on Highway 22 on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A burned building at the Gates Elementary School on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Mill City on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A tree burns alongside Jennie Road in Mehama on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A scorched mailbox in Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Burned pumpkins next to a destroyed home in Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A burned building on the Kelly Lumber Sales property on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A roadside sign alerts drivers of a closure on Highway 22 on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The remains of a house on Highway 226 on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A fire level sign at the Oregon Department of Forestry on Highway 22 on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Oak Park Motel sign in Gates on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Remains of a building at the Gates Elementary School on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The foundation of a burnt home on Jennie Road in Mehama on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The stairs leading in to the Oregon Department of Forestry North Cascade Santiam unit headquarter's remains on Highway 22 on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The remains of the North Fork Crossing restaurant on Highway 22 on Wednesday, September 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)