I have lived in Utah most of my life, and can't remember a summer where we have had so many fires! A new fire started today in the hills above Alpine prompting mandatory evacuations. 80 homes have been evacuated, and a barn burned. We will work to keep you up to date on the latest.
ALPINE — What has been dubbed the Quail Fire is burning in the foothills above Alpine and is threatening structures. 80 homes have been evacuated and a barn has burned.
Lone Peak Police have ordered a mandatory evacuation for the Box Elder and Alpine Cove subdivisions. All evacuees are being told to go to Lone Peak High school.
Jon Kirk, a Red Cross volunteer, said the LDS meetinghouse is just an evacuation center and has not been designated a shelter. Kirk said volunteers were serving dinner at the facility. He said 90 people were at the stake center. Timberline Middle School is not an evacuation center.
SR-92 has been closed from the mouth of American Fork Canyon to Provo Canyon, including SR-144 to Tribble Fork.
Draper City has tweeted that residents of SunCrest should prepare a "to-go" bag with important items and papers, should an evacuation be ordered, but they also said no evacuation has been issued and the Quail Fire is not yet in Draper.
Utah County has said that there are several search and rescue teams up American Fork Canyon helping to evacuate campers.
Flames 20 feet or higher were seen racing up in the canyon and up the mountainside.
"It's really moved really fast, faster than I would have expected," said Reid Shelley with the U.S. Forest Service. "Even without the wind and the steep slope, it's moved faster. I mean, it's just extreme fire behavior."
The fire was burning in an area near a popular Dry Creek Trail.
Suzanne Davis, who lives on the Alpine/Highland border, said there seemed to be a lot of people who drove to the area to watch the fire burn. She wasn't too worried about losing her home, however, since the fire was heading in another direction.
"I don’t see it coming down the mountain. I don’t see it headed toward any structures, coming towards Highland,” she said. “I have seen once in a while a flare up, but I did see a plane come and drop the retardant down and that has slowed down the fire."
Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who visited many of the major fires in Utah this past week, lives on the west side of Alpine and was home when the fire broke out.
“It’s a big one and it’s getting worse,” he said. “There aren’t as many homes in danger as in Sanpete County or down in Saratoga Springs, so there hasn’t been what’s call an FMAG issued yet, which would give some federal funding.
“A lot of what is burning right now is on Forest Service land, and we need federal assets to try to put a hamper on it.”
Alpine Mayor Hunt Willoughby said Tuesday's fire was something that he and other city officials have feared would happen but had tried to address.
"We did the complete ban on all open fires and fireworks a week or so ago based on the fire chief’s recommendations. The fire and the conditions that have been around it have been so dangerous that we thought it best to do that.”
Ryan Smith's parents live in Alpine Cove but were out of town Tuesday. They called him and asked him to retrieve important documents and their pets from the home.
"It's too dry. People aren't safe," Smith said. "Even when you are the safest, it's not safe to light fireworks."
Reid Shelley with the U.S. Forest Service said a Type 2 incident management team has been called in to fight the fire, which will bring more resources.
This type of incident extends beyond the capabilities for local control and is expected to go into multiple operational periods, according to the Federal Emergency Management Association website. A Type 2 incident may require the response of resources out of area, including regional and/or national resources, according to FEMA.
"We're getting thin" on personnel to fight the fire, Shelley said.
State Route 92 and American Fork Canyon were both closed because of the fire, which is called the Quail Fire. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also called on the Utah National Guard to assist with the firefighting efforts.
Mark Woolsey of Hauula, Hawaii, flew in Tuesday morning to stay at his father's house, which is about ¾ of a mile from where fire started.
"First thing I said when I came in this morning was that with no rain, it's just a matter of time before a fire breaks out in this area," said Woolsey, who was on his way to Philmont, N.M., to train with Boy Scouts. "I was just about to take a nap when my dad said, 'You gotta come up and see this.'
"The fire just got bigger and bigger, and finally it just went right up the mountain."
"We're evacuated almost yearly because of tsunami scares," the Hawaii resident said. "What do you put in your car to take?"