Utah fire destroys 14 homes near resort town

AP News
Posted: Aug 15, 2013 4:46 PM
Utah fire destroys 14 homes near resort town

WANSHIP, Utah (AP) — Officials braced for another possible flare-up Thursday afternoon in a lightning-sparked wildfire that has destroyed 14 homes near a Utah mountain resort town.

Hundreds of firefighters set back fires and bulldozed lines to contain the 2,000-acre fire. They also repositioned fire engines and crews to protect 250 threatened homes, some along a golf course in the gated community of Promontory.

For a third day, evacuation orders remained in place Thursday. The Rockport Fire is burning about 10 miles from Park City.

A 14th house was lost Wednesday, but firefighters saved 22 others from burning in the same area, said Summit County District Fire Warden Bryce Boyer.

More than 250 firefighters have the blaze about 25 percent contained, he said. The Summit County Sheriff's Office offered to escort people to threatened homes for emergency supplies, pets or medicine.

The wildfire has placed many families in limbo, said Ian Jasenovic, who had just minutes to leave with his wife and their twin 4-year-olds. They grabbed the family's cats and photo albums, and later learned their house had been spared — for now.

"You feel displaced. You are out of your comfort zone," Jasenovic said.

Most of the destroyed houses were year-round residences, said Claudia McMullin, chairwoman of the Summit County Council.

"It's very upsetting," she said. "I'm please there is no loss of life and I'm very sad for the loss of property."

Residents have always known wildfires are a threat, she said.

"It's a mountain desert environment and we are the second or third year of a drought," McMullin said. "So we talk about fire all the time."