UPDATE 12:02 p.m.: According to reports, the Quail Fire is now 95 percent contained.
UPDATE 9:24 a.m.: The Quail Fire is now 90 percent contained according to reports. The fire has charred over 2200 acres.
UPDATE 9:46 p.m.: Fire officials want to make it clear that a couple of rain storms does not end a drought.
“Fire season’s not over,” said Charity Parks, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Forest Service. “It’s going to dry out really quick. It’s expected to dry out and get hotter by tomorrow and so we still have a fire season upon us.”
UPDATE 9:10 p.m.: In an interview with reporters at his home that was almost destroyed by the Quail Fire, James Patterson (the president of Patterson Construction) acknowledged a subcontractor his company hired may have been involved with the start of the wildfire.
Patterson said the company was doing some excavation work.
“I’m just catching it all too, but that’s what I understand,” he said. “It was from a trackhoe that was doing the excavation for this geotech report.”
Investigators have been in Lambert Park looking for a cause of the wildfire. Lone Peak Fire Chief Brad Freeman told FOX 13 on Thursday that it was human caused, but he added it was still “under investigation.”
“We were doing nothing illegal or anything,” Patterson told reporters. “It’s just totally accidental.”
UPDATE 8:08 p.m.: Fire officials announced Friday night they had achieved 65% containment on the Quail Fire, pushing the fire back into the mountains and away from Alpine.
“It is a lot of progress,” said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Charity Parks. “Firefighters have been working really hard on the fire and a little bit of moisture helped along the way.”
Concerns have now been raised about the barren mountainside. Federal teams are assessing the damage for potential mudslides if heavy rains continue over the scorched earth.
“It’s always been a worry for me that you have a big collection basin up there where water can collect and it gets channeled through a narrow neck and it comes out very quickly and very concentrated and can cause a lot of damage very quickly,” said Alpine Mayor Hunt Willoughby.
More on FOX 13 News at 9.
UPDATE 4:07 p.m.: Firefighters continue to attack the Quail Fire with helicopters. A rappel crew is working in the Willow Creek drainage for quicker access into the area.
A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team is on the fire to assess the damage and help stabilize the area to prevent mudflows.
UPDATE 11:10 a.m., July 6: All evacuations in the Quail Fire area have been lifted and residents are allowed to return to their homes.
Residents are expressing are their thanks to firefighters.
“I was so overwhelmed with what was gone, but more with what is still here,” said Susan Wittenberg, Alpine resident. “I have never been so grateful.”
Another home had a sign thanking firefighters posted in their front yard.
Officials said they do not expect to have fully containment of the fire on Friday.
UPDATE 10:28 a.m.: The Quail Fire is now 2,243 acres and 50% contained.
UPDATE 7:25 a.m., July 6: Crews are back on the mountain Friday morning to continue fighting the Quail Fire. They are changing up their approach, including use of a team trained to get to the higher areas.
There are at least 1,993 acres still burning and the fire was still at 50 percent containment.
Mark Reagan, with Great Basin Management Team, said the rain Thursday did help, but it provided only temporary relief.
“It allowed us to get in there, cool the fire down,” said Reagan. “But again this weekend, the temperatures are drying out. The fuel models are already showing that the fuel is drying out.”
UPDATE 9:19 p.m.: Fire officials tell FOX 13 the Quail Fire is now 50% contained at 1,993 acres.
Investigators went to the point of origin for the fire. FOX 13 also hiked to the site, seeing a trench where it appears heavy equipment had been working. Neighbors said they witnessed a trackhoe doing work in the area and shortly after the fire started, the same vehicle was trying to fight the flames.
Lone Peak Fire Chief Brad Freeman confirmed that construction work was being done at the time of the fire, but said it remained “under investigation.” He said the fire was human caused.
UPDATE 8:00 p.m.: FOX 13′s Brett Benson said this round of thunderstorms is expected to bring with it heavy winds, rain and lightning. Beyond the potential for new wildfires, there is danger of mudflows in areas already scorched by the Quail Fire.
Firefighters were called off the mountainside for their safety.
UPDATE 7:07 p.m.: The National Weather Service forecast another round of thunderstorms to move across northern Utah, packing quite a punch. Forecasters said it had the potential to dump heavy rains and 45 mile per hour winds across the Quail Fire area. FOX 13′s Brett Benson said lightning had also been spotted over the Oquirrh Mountains, and was headed toward Utah County.
UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: All evacuations have been lifted in the Quail Fire. Lone Peak police will ask residents to show ID to keep the neighborhoods clear for firefighting equipment to get through. Access would be restricted to Box Elder, as well as Bald Mountain Dr, Bald Mountain Circle, Golden Eagle Dr, Holly Dr, and Preston Drive.
Lone Peak Fire Chief Brad Freeman told FOX 13 the rain is “an answer to prayers for a lot of people.” He said it has allowed crews to get ahead of the fire.
U.S. Forest Service officials cautioned the fire is not out. Indeed, more crews were dispatched to keep the fire from advancing back toward Alpine. 9 helicopters, 12 engines, 500 personnel were working the fire.
A helicopter was seen flying over the canyons as the storm clouds lifted, trying to prevent the fire from spreading into American Fork Canyon.
Update 11:15 a.m., July 5: There is rain falling in the area of the Quail Fire.
“Definitely the rain helped, but the rest of the fire, the 90 percent that is not contained, is pretty rugged terrain,” said Larry Lucas, U.S. Forest Service.
Lucas said it would take more and heavier rain to really less the fire risk.
Officials are evaluating the evacuation area every hour to see when more people may be allowed to return home. There are still about 285 homes under mandatory evacuation.
“It was scary on Tuesday afternoon. We got a knock on the door from the fire department saying you got to get out in 15 minutes,” said Aaron Smith, an Alpine evacuee who has returned home. “Then yesterday afternoon, there wasn’t an official announcement that we could come back in, we just drove over here and the streets were open again and we were happy to get back into the house and see that everything was okay.”
Update 8:25 a.m., July 5: Most of the fire is burning in a direction away from the homes, said Larry Lucas, U.S. Forest Service.
“Obviously with higher humidity and the lower temperatures, that helps today,” Lucas said.
The fire is not currently threatening any homes, nor has it gone into American Fork Canyon.
There are still mandatory evacuations for about 325 homes. However at 10 a.m., residents in the Alpine Cove subdivision will be allowed home. That is estimated to be about 40 homes.
The Red Cross continues to have a shelter and information center open at Timberline Middle School, 500 West Canyon Crest in Alpine.
Update 7:35 a.m., July 5: Residents in the Alpine Cove subdivision will be allowed to return home after 10 a.m. Thursday, as the evacuations for that area are expected to be lifted, said Alpine City Mayor Otis Willoughby.
Update 6:16 a.m., July 5: The fire is now 10 percent contained.
Hundreds of homes remain under a mandatory evacuation and there is no timetable for when those families will be allowed to return.
The evacuation zone consists of neighborhoods north of Country Manor Lane, Alpine Cove and Box Elder subdivisions.
State Road 93 starting at the mouth of American Fork Canyon will remain closed.
Update 9:37 p.m., July 4:Firefighters say that the fire line in the Willow Canyon area has not gotten any closer to homes as they had feared earlier. The wind has not shifted and it appears the flames are not working down the slope.The evacuation zone has stayed the same tonight even though firefighters have kept the fire at bay away from urban areas. It is unclear when additional residents who were told to evacuate can come back home. Authorities are waiting to see how well the weather cooperates with their firefighting efforts and what happens overnight.
Update 4:51 p.m., July 4: The fire has picked up in two areas where new timber has fueled the flames. Willow Canyon and a northwest area of the mountain range have flames that have intensified.
Firefighters have relied almost solely on air attacks, bringing in air tankers and Blackhawk helicopters to drop water and fire retardant. They say a fortunate aspect of the wildfire is that it is working its way away from homes.Three hundred twenty-five homes are still on a mandatory evacuation order. More than 50 homes at the base of Willow Canyon are the most threatened. View an evacuation map from AlpineCity.org here.
Firefighters are concerned as evening sets in, winds may shift and blow down the mountain, fanning flames toward residential structures. They have Hot Shot crews ready at the base of Willow Canyon in case the fire shifts down the canyon.
Firefighters still maintain a 5 percent containment. Four hundred men and women are working to suppress the wildland blaze.
Update 2:45 p.m., July 4: The Forest Service says the fire is down to 1,993 acres due to more accurate GSP data.
Another 25 homes have been taken out of the evacuation zone. The fire is five percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon.
The winds have shifted and the fire is moving up the mountain.
Update 11:46 a.m., July 4: People are being allowed home in the area west of Country Manor Lane, South of 300 North, North of Oak Hill Drive.
Update 11:43 a.m., July 4: The Red Cross provided breakfast for more than 150 first responders battling the Quail Fire today. Shelter remains open. – @UtahRedCross
Update 11:30 a.m., July 4: Evacuation maps have changed and residents of at least 150 homes are being allowed to return home. To find out more details, please contact the evacuation hotline (801) 851-8778.
The fire will likely grow through Wednesday, said Larry Lucas, U.S. Forest Service.
“The growth you saw yesterday is not anticipated today, however, very little of this fire is contained, so therefore it’s likely it will get a little bit bigger,” Lucas said.
Update 8:06 a.m., July 4: Overnight winds pushed the fire back down the mountain. The evacuations are still in place.
The fire burned up to an altitude of 9,000 feet and officials noticed that the higher elevation has slowed down the fire because of more moist vegetation, said Loyal Clark, U.S. Forest Service.
On Wednesday, there will be three 20-man hot-shot crews, three black hawk helicopters, and three additional helicopters working on the fire, according to Clark.
Update 7:32 a.m., July 4: The Quail Fire is now at 2,886 acres, said Loyal Clark, U.S. Forest Service. The change is due to more accurate mapping. Still 0% contained. A Type 2 team, bringing with it more resources to fight the fire, is expected to take over today.
Update 9:32 p.m.: About 500 homes have been evacuated due to the Quail Fire.
Update 9:06 p.m.: Firefighters on the ground will be leaving the mountainside at sundown due to extreme conditions.
Update 8:09 p.m.: The Quail Fire was reportedly started by a backhoe at a construction site.
Update 7:09 p.m.: The U.S. Forest Service says the Quail Fire has burned 1,500 acres and two homes sustained minor damage.
Update 6:43 p.m.: Evacuation center is now Timberline Middle School, 500 West Canyon Crest in Alpine. The Red Cross Reception Center includes snacks, water and information for evacuees.
Update 5:42 p.m.: The evacuation center for the Quail Fire is now at Lone Peak High School, 10189 North 4800 West in Highland. The Red Cross Reception Center includes snacks, water and information for evacuees.
Update 5:33 p.m.: The Utah Department of Transportation said SR-92 (Alpine Loop) is closed at the mouth of American Fork Cyn to Provo Cyn. This includes SR-144 to Tibble Fork.
Update 5:16 p.m.: Lone Peak police say about 80 homes have been evacuated and one structure, a barn, has burned. American Fork Canyon, over a mountain ridge from Alpine, has been evacuated.
Update 5:04 p.m.: A type 2 incident management team has been called in to fight the Quail Fire.
Update 4:16 p.m.: Box Elder and Alpine Cove subdivisions are now under mandatory evacuation orders. All residents are asked to leave their homes.
Update 3:37 p.m.:
says Box Elder subdivision ordered to EVACUATE. Go to LDS Church at Heritage Hills & Main in Highland.
Update 3:22 p.m.:Governor Gary Herbert orders National Guard to assist in Alpine fire. Homes endangered via @governorherbert.
Crews currently fighting the
#alpinefire. Currently no mandatory evacuations via @LonePeakPolice.
UPDATE 3:12 p.m.: Lone Peak Dispatch says Cross Hollow subdivision is being evacuated via @NinevehDinha.
PREVIOUS: There is a brush fire in the Highland-Alpine area that is threatening homes, according to Utah County Dispatch.
The fire started about 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. It is just south of Lambert Park and firefighters are working to protect homes.
Multiple agencies are responding to the fire, including a crew from the Forest Service. There is also one helicopter being used in the fight.
The Lone Peak Fire Department is calling people living in homes near the fire advising them to evacuate.
The cause of the fire is not yet known.