UINTAH – There was a mixture of happiness and heartbreak as residents displaced by the Uintah Fire had a chance to retrieve items from their homes and see how bad the damage is.
Michael McCormack lives on the corner of Bybee Lane and Carriage Lane. On Wednesday evening, his home was still under evacuation. However, that’s much better than what he expected to find this morning. He remembers seeing fire on three sides of the house last night, and he was certain his property would see more damage than it did.
Still, he says he watched as his neighbor’s home burn to the ground. McCormack says, “It’s pretty devastating. It’s heartbreaking to see how that just went right through the neighborhood.”
Jackie Joseph was also one of the lucky ones whose home was spared from damage. She spent a long time watering down her property, and the flames came right up to her fence. She was also preparing herself to hear that her home was destroyed. She says, “When I looked over the edge and saw how many spots were glowing into the trees, and the wind was starting to pick up slightly, I was concerned.” Her daughter, Annie, adds, “I was just incredibly grateful that our house was still there, and that the damage was only done to our yard.”
Still, there are roughly 119 homes still in the evacuated area. By six p.m. on Wednesday, the blaze was nearly 70 percent contained, and has still only burned 619 acres. Weber Fire District Captain Rick Cooper says the blaze burned the grass and brush under the fires, but, the rest of the trees were ready to burn. He says, “If that were to rekindle, it could get into the tops of the trees and start another fire and we’d see something like we experienced yesterday morning.”
Weather conditions were far more favorable today. “Winds were pretty low over the night, so the fire held. It didn’t grow and it wasn’t super active,” according to US Forest Service Spokesperson Rachelle Handley. Crews spent the day driving around the area, looking for smoke and hotspots to put them out. However, while officials were trying to get people in the evacuated areas out yesterday, they were telling people who didn’t leave their homes to stay inside. Handley says, “If we’re fighting the fire, and there’s aerial support and they’re dropping water, that could be a potential hazard to them.”
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