NewsLocal News


Duchesne Co. wildfire that burned home now 75 percent contained

Posted at 6:47 PM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 20:47:19-04

DUCHESNE COUNTY, Utah — Fruitland residents are breathing a sigh of relief that firefighters have a handle on a wildfire that burned down one home and raced toward others in the area.

The "6400 Fire" sparked Sunday just off of U.S. Highway 40, quickly engulfing a couple hundred acres.

Bonner Hardegree lives near where the fire started, and said he'd been visiting his girlfriend's house up the street when both of them smelled smoke.

They went outside, and saw a huge plume of smoke behind his girlfriend's property. The wind was pushing the flames toward them.

"It came up in just a matter of a few minutes," Hardegree recounted. "It covered a couple hundred acres behind us."

The fire nearly gave Hardegree déjà vu, two years after the 50,000-plus acre Dollar Ridge Fire forced him to evacuate for several days.

While the 6400 Fire stayed small at only 225 acres, it came much closer to his property and girlfriend's house than the Dollar Ridge Fire ever did.

"We had some sprinklers on in kind of strategic areas behind the house. Not that that would make a big difference, but you feel like you have to do something to try to preserve the property," Hardegree said.

By that time, the fire had already burned down a home and other outbuildings on a property near his. Neighbors told FOX 13 a second home suffered smoke damage.

Neighbors also said the family who owns the property and house that burned recently purchased it, and had not moved in yet.

Still, their property is a mess. On Monday afternoon, piles of rubble and debris were still smoking.

And it's all from what the Department of Natural Resources believes was someone driving on the highway.

"Where it started, it was multiple starts on the road, but just right here," said Mike Eriksson with DNR. "A lot of times, when we get multiple starts like that, it's usually something to do with a vehicle."

He then warned drivers to make sure they aren't accidentally dragging anything from their vehicle.

Eriksson said they are tracking every lead and they have witness statements as they look to find who was potentially responsible.

By Monday afternoon, firefighters had the 225-acre fire 75 percent contained.

Unlike the devastation from the Dollar Ridge Fire two years ago, this fire didn't destroy as much or last nearly as long.
Hardegree and his girlfriend are glad for that.

"Everything is fine," he said. "We're fine, just a little unnerved by it all."