NewsLocal News


Parleys Canyon Fire evacuees get chance to gather belongings; Evacuation order remains in effect

Posted at 8:26 PM, Aug 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-15 23:14:31-04

PARK CITY, Utah — Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as crews continue to battle the Parleys Canyon Fire.

As of Sunday night, the fire was 10 percent contained. The most recent estimate was just over 600 acres, but officials are planning to fly over the area Sunday night to map the new acreage using infrared.

“The vegetation is so dried out that it's very receptive to fire. Something as simple as a small spark can start something like this,” said Sierra Hellstrom, a spokeswoman for the Northern Utah Type 3 Incident Management Team.

READ: Catalytic converter pieces recovered in Parleys Canyon Fire

Evacuations remained in place Sunday night, with a potential for people to be able to return Tuesday morning, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. That could change depending on the fire.

“We want to make sure with 100 percent confidence that that fire won't progress more in that area so we don’t have to do a second evacuation, that we can put them back in with 100 percent confidence that they can stay at home,” Hellstrom said.

READ: Parleys Canyon Fire at zero percent containment at approximately 600 acres

People were able to return to their homes briefly Sunday to gather their belongings. Heidi was thrilled she could return home. She needed help getting her neighbor’s birds out, and she left behind something irreplaceable: her husband’s ashes.

“I don’t know what I would do without it because I would like to be buried together,” she said.

She described her husband as a wonderful person. He passed away last year. In the midst of rushing out the door, she didn’t take anything with her Saturday.

“It has kind of been an emotional roller coaster, and it is starting to sink in,” she said.

Heidi may end up at the American Red Cross shelter at Park City High School Monday night, but for now, she said the kindness of strangers has been amazing. She was offered a place to stay.

READ: Evacuations due to Parleys Canyon Fire may last until Tuesday; Emergency shelter available

“When I was at the shelter, there were very few people left because everybody was being taken in by other people,” she said.

According to shelter manager Tina Spencer, only one person was sleeping there as of Sunday afternoon. Some others were staying in campers in the parking lot. She said Park City is an awesome community.

“We have seen everything — a lot of supplies have come in, donations from every group, even the councilman, the mayor. We have seen everybody. It has been great,” she said.

Evacuee Chris Griffen also said it has been an emotional roller coaster.

“It’s just been kind of like going from finding a place to stay, keep the dogs safe, make sure family is good. So, a little surreal,” she said.