WEBER COUNTY, Utah — A wildfire in Weber County forced the residents of nearly 300 homes to evacuate Tuesday.
Evacuees spread out – most of them went to the Dee Event Center at Weber State University at 4400 Harrison Blvd. But others found places far enough away from the mouth of Weber Canyon where they could still use their binoculars to see if the fire spread to their homes in the Uintah Highlands subdivision.
“This is where we grew up; this is our hometown; these are our people; and we felt helpless, like, what else could we do and so we reached out to the people we knew, started making phone calls and everybody stepped up,” said Melissa Schiffman.
Schiffman and her two sisters teamed together and called several businesses to help feed the evacuees.
Multiple Little Caesars Pizza restaurants pitched in. They donated 60 pizzas. Dunkin Donuts gave away free donuts, and Fresh Market donated three truckloads of water bottles.
“It's been amazing the response that we got,” said Schiffman. “People didn't even hesitate to help us.”
Schiffman's sisters are also impacted by this fire. One of them, Cherie Holden, was forced to evacuate. They have lived there for years. The three girls grew up in the house next to Holden’s current home, and their grandmother lives next door to her now.
“We have three generations of homes up there,” said another sister, Amanda Wilcoxen.
The sisters did all the leg work and handed out pizza, donuts, and water to evacuees.
Another evacuee, Bobbie Wortman, said she saw the flames shoot up near her house.
“My lights were flickering and they were all orange,” described Wortman. “We saw a power transformer below. And something made me go outside; and I am so glad that I went outside because had if I not gone outside I would not have realized there was a fire going on.”
She packed up her belongings with her daughter’s help.
“I just yelled at my daughter ‘we need to start grabbing everything-- packing everything up.’ Our power was out; I had to help her get the garage open, load the cars up, put the dogs in. Started grabbing pictures and running around.”