BOUNTIFUL, Utah — Evacuation zones were lifted at 11 a.m. on Saturday for all of Bountiful as officials say the Gun Range Fire is now 80 percent contained at 321 acres.
Neighbors going home for the first time were overwhelmed with how close the flames came to their houses.
Joseph Dalto said he remembers looking over his neighbor’s shoulder and seeing the hillside covered in flames.
“All of a sudden, within 15 seconds of coming up from a dead sleep, I realized, ‘This is an emergency and we’ve got to get out of here now,’” he said.
Evacuating to Bountiful Junior High School, Dalto and his family watched the large flames crawl near their home as they closed their eyes — spending the night in their car.
Waking up hours later that morning, Dalto watched crews continue fighting the fire — it’s the closest Dalto has ever seen an air tanker.
“You could see the belly open and this orange plume of retardant drop on the fire just off the house,” he said. “You could see it just gliding over, hundreds of feet as if you were on the runway of a take-off of a jet and a big loud screeching sound as it flew overhead.”
The red retardant and charred burn scar are a reminder of where flames once glared through the night.
Because of the brave firefighters, Dalto’s neighbor’s American flag was still there.
As hotshot crews continue to put out hot spots, Dalto said he walked by and stopped to say thank you.
Shaking their hands, the firefighters apologized that they were so dirty, but Dalto said he became emotional.
“I said, ‘No, that’s sacred to me. It’s an honor to shake your hand.'”