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Residents in the small town of Portage have a close encounter with a wildfire

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Posted at 10:00 PM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-29 00:01:08-04

BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah --  For the second time in three years, people near the town of Portage, Utah looked on as flames inched closer to their front door.

“We smelled smoke, came outside and it was down there,” said farmer, Carol Parkinson as she pointed to where the fire started. “Then all sudden, it was creeping up there closer.”

Utah Fire management says the "Rough Canyon Fire" was man-made, but couldn’t confirm how. Initially just a thousand acres had burned Wednesday night, by Thursday morning, winds picked up spreading the fire to 3,000 acres.

“We knew we were going to have some winds today, but didn’t realize just how bad they were gong to be,” said LeAnn Fox, spokesperson for the Rough Canyon Fire.

At times, the winds were gusting to over 20 miles per hour, though mostly steady around 5 mph.

“The fire jumped the road and was headed for this town,” Fox said of Portage, population roughly 250.  Thankfully, helicopters and tanker planes kept the flames at bay and steered them back up the hills.

“Their goal here is to burn it back onto itself.”