Update: Blackhawks called in to fight Anaconda fire in Tooele County

Posted at 10:41 PM, Jul 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-22 16:37:54-04

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah - The Utah National Guard said Blackhawk helicopters have been called in to help fight the unpredictable Anaconda fire in Tooele County.

Cooler conditions overnight helped fire crews gain ground on the blaze but it flared back up Tuesday.

Officials said the fire is threatening several homes.

Erratic winds kept the flames moving all night and residents say they are worried about which direction the blaze will head next.

"The concern is the fire could shift potentially, so they are working on creating a fire break," Wade Mathews said, Utah Division of Emergency Management. "They're bringing in some heavy equipment to cut a fire line between the fire and the residences. They're also bringing in a heavy tanker, an air tanker, that would drop retardant along that same line and try to double the defenses against the fire."

This fire is one of several burning in the county Tuesday.

Fire officials said they were sparked by lightning.

Many residents heeded warnings and evacuated Monday night.

Throughout Pine Canyon, multiple state and local fire agencies continue to try to gain control of the growing and unpredictable Anaconda Fire.

“The winds are challenging. They keep shifting, and it’s been touch and go,” Jason Curry said, spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

Monday night the fire resulted in a mandatory evacuation for residents on Churchwood Lane.

They were moved to the LDS Church at 752 S. 520 East, according to the North Tooele Fire District.

As of Monday night the fire had grown well past 100 acres and it destroyed one structure on the nearby Tooele Gun Range.

“I mean, there are dry trees over around us so it could cause some harm,” Jaesun Heath said, who spent much of the evening trying to protect his family’s home.

While many of the houses were not in immediate danger, fire officials recommended many nearby residences evacuate, especially those along Pine Canyon Rd.

“The wind can take a 180-degree turn and head this way, and if it does, then of course we’ll get out of here,” Vicki Griffith said, who watched the flames from her front yard.

While crews worked to extinguish the Anaconda fire, across the county, several other fires continued to burn.

By nightfall, the Sheep Fire had grown to 1,780 acres, according to Utah Wildfire on Twitter.

All the fires, according to Curry, were sparked by lightning strikes on Sunday.