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Fire in Summit County grows to 287 acres, 30 percent containment

Posted at 2:36 PM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-30 16:39:12-04

UPDATE: Tuesday evening fire officials said they were continuing to work to monitor hot spots burning at the fire.

Fire officials said the flames came very close to cell towers, propane tanks and storage sheds.

The acres burned from the fire remained at 286/287 acres and was expected to stay that size.

No closures or evacuations are in effect as of Tuesday morning but firefighters are in the area to guide citizens.

Previous story continues below:

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah - A wildfire in the Tollgate Canyon area of Summit County Monday burned a few hundred acres and forced neighboring homes to evacuate.

According to the Park City Fire District, the fire started as a brush fire around 2 p.m. Monday.

Jennifer Kanzler said she saw the fire right after it started along Tollgate Canyon Road. She said she was headed down the canyon and immediately called 911, then called her neighbors.

"A little piece of panic kicked in," she said. "The first thing I thought about was our residents, our animals and our homes."

Krachel Murdock with Summit County said they evacuated four homes as a precautionary measure, and that they were watching over 400 homes. She said 200 of those homes are full-time residences. High West Distillery nearby also evacuated.

The Tollgate Canyon Road exit off of I-80 closed down, as did roads in the area. People weren't allowed to drive home, and Summit County told those already home to hunker down in their houses.

The fire grew from 20 acres, to 60 and then to 300 acres. Murdock said winds created a challenge for crews.

"It's been very shifty, and that of course is making this fire difficult to fight because it's jumping, it's going different directions," she said.

The flames began to make a run for I-80. Murdock said fire fighters started a controlled backburn on the fire, in an attempt to stop it from reaching the highway.

"They start a fire a little lower, and [it burned] up the hill," she explained. "This allowed them to essentially fight fire with fire, to help extinguish that."

Residents like Kanzler watched the flames eat at the hillside, as crews on the ground and in the air attempted to gain control.

"I was down at the base of Tollgate Canyon, along with a lot of our other residents, just trying to get news of what to do, get people down, animals," she said.

Later Monday evening, crews began to get a handle on the fire and all residents were allowed to return when Summit County lifted the road closures and evacuations.

The latest estimate shows it burning 287 acres with a 10% containment. Murdock said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

She said two trucks plan to stay on scene to monitor hot spots overnight. She said flames will continue to be visible on I-80, and she asked that drivers refrain from calling to report the fire.