Utahn recounts frightening moments after Uintah Fire prompted evacuation

Posted at 5:37 PM, Sep 07, 2017

WEBER COUNTY, Utah -- Heather Carlson took a picture of the Uintah fire coming down the hill towards her home Tuesday morning.

"Firefighters were fighting like crazy in our backyard," she said. "Our neighbor was fighting like crazy in our backyard, spraying down all our scrub oak, spraying down our house."

She took one last picture before being blinded by smoke.

"I couldn’t see anything," she said. "I was coughing. I had ash on me. I ran to the front of the house. I had my kids with me. They were crying."

She quickly grabbed some family pictures and her mother's ashes.

"The firefighters were just screaming. Get out! Get out now," Carlson recalls.

Carlson was convinced her home would be gone by the time she got back.

"When I ran back inside from the back porch the walls were so hot, the heat, the smoke and everything," she said. "We knew from the positioning of our home if it went to the north side of our house, our house was gone."

However, thanks to firefighters and fate, her home is still standing.

"They saved our house," Carlson said. "Our house is burnt completely around it. In between our house and the neighbors, in the back, the north side. I can’t believe it’s there."

Carlson's house is there, but her neighbors weren't as lucky.

"The house two houses up is gone," Carlson said. "Our house has black all around it and it’s there. We get to go home."

The experience has left Carlson with a sense of gratitude she's never known before.

"I don’t know how to repay all of the men and women who have helped us, our neighbors: We’re so fortunate," she said.

Carlson is one of many lucky homeowners. Firefighters say the blaze has not grown since it broke out on Tuesday. It has torched three homes and three other structures, but more than a hundred homes have been saved.

As of Thursday the fire has burned an estimated 619 acres and is 70 percent contained, according to fire officials.