Pine Valley evacuees attend emergency meeting about Saddle Fire

Posted at 9:25 PM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 09:42:31-04

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah -- The Saddle Fire that has been ongoing since June 13 has now burned more than 650 acres and is threatening homes in the town of Pine Valley.

On Tuesday, 100 houses were evacuated. Reva Brooks lives in one of them.

"My goodness this is a scary thing, just like it is in California, and I can't imagine having to not come back to it," Brooks said.

Brooks was one of the Pine Valley evacuees to attend an emergency meeting Tuesday night. The question on everyone's mind was, if and when they can return home.

"The probability that these structures are going to burn, I really don't know," said Joseph Rechsteiner, of the Pine Valley Ranger District.

The fire is within a half a mile of some of the homes.

"Your common feeling is it’s way over there, but it's the fallout of the ash that's the big concern," said evacuee Ralph Brooks

There are more than 300 firefighters on the ground and helicopters in the air.

"Well obviously it's a concern where it's difficult for the firefighters who can't even get to it on foot at this point," said resident Mary Esther Putnam.

The whole town can only sit and wonder how many more will be evacuated. Many residents are being proactive, gathering belongings while they still have time.

Resident Jodie Herpel said she grabbed photographs, camera equipment and her dog.

Neighbors are also looking out for one another. About half of the homes that have been evacuated, the owners aren't even around.

"I called a lady who lives here who is now on an LDS mission and I said, 'If it gets into town, which I don't think it will, give me your code so you can take whatever you need me to take out,'" Putnam said.

However, the majority of this town maintains a positive attitude. They will get through this.

"We don't know what Mother Nature is going to do but this community is very fasting and pray-full and I know God is watching over us too," Herpel said.