Evacuation orders issued, structures threatened as growing wildfire burns in Utah
Jacob Klopfenstein and Lauren Bennett, KSL.com
FRUIT HEIGHTS, Utah (KSL.com) — A fire burning in the hills above Fruit Heights in Davis County Monday forced the evacuation of some areas, officials said.
The fire, named the Francis Fire, started shortly before 3 p.m. Monday was estimated to be between 50-100 acres in size, according to fire officials.
About 4:50 p.m., Davis County Sheriff’s Office issued mandatory evacuation orders for Oakmont Lane at 1375 East, and Mountain Road from 200 North to the gun range and where it splits to 650 North, and homes along 1800 East.
People in the Adams Canyon area were also asked to evacuate, Layton City officials said on Twitter.
Search and rescue teams were heading up Farmington Canyon about 5:15 p.m. to assist with evacuations, the sheriff’s office said. Bair, Ward and Adams trails were all closed due to the fire.
Areas around Davis County Animal Care and Control were also being evacuated, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter about 3 p.m.
Residents in the Tanglewood area were asked by Layton City officials to prepare for evacuations, but officials stressed that conditions would have to change drastically to actually force evacuations.
An evacuation center was established at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse on 200 North, west of U.S. Highway 89, the sheriff’s office said.
People were asked not to call in the fire to emergency dispatchers, unless there is a structure on fire or someone is injured and no emergency responders have arrived yet, according to sheriff’s office spokeswoman Elizabeth Sollis. People who need to be evacuated will be notified as necessary, according to Layton City officials.
Search and rescue crews were responding to the area to assist with evacuations, Sollis said. She was not sure how many structures were being affected.
Officials urged the public to avoid the area and reminded people that flying drones interfere with firefighting air operations.
— Davis County SO (@DavisCountySO) September 16, 2019
The sheriff’s office said anyone caught flying a drone would be apprehended.
The cause of the fire wasn’t known Monday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said.
Buses on routes north of 200 North and east of U.S. Highway 89 were rerouted to alternate routes, according to the sheriff’s office.
Four school bus routes, servicing Morgan and East Layton elementary schools, were also affected by the fire, according to Davis School District spokeswoman Shauna Lund. Those routes include Morgan Elementary buses 398 and 1714, and East Layton Elementary buses 1911 and 1404, Davis School District said on Twitter. Those routes were not allowed north of 200 North and east of U.S. Highway 89.
Parents of students who normally take buses to those areas were asked to pick their students up at school, the district said.
The fire was affecting the roadway along U.S. 89 at the Green Road intersection, according to the Utah Department of Transportation. Only emergency stops were allowed in both directions, and no parking was allowed on either side of the road UDOT said.
The agency estimated the road would be affected throughout the remainder of the evening.
Due to the fire, Utah Transit Authority closed Fruit Heights Park and Ride, located at North Country Way East in Fruit Heights.
Route 455 won’t be able to service it while crews are working, UTA officials said.
Route 473 will turn off U.S. Highway 89 and Main St., then go east on 200 North to drop off passengers before turning back onto U.S. Highway 89.
A red flag warning is in effect for much of Utah, and the Wasatch Front is experiencing strong winds. Extreme fire behavior is possible, according to Utah fire officials.
This story will be updated as more information is released.