Dollar Ridge Fire grows to 30,000 acres; some evacuees given minutes to leave
FRUITLAND, Utah – Strong winds Monday propelled a wildfire to nearly five times the size it was Sunday, forcing the evacuation of as many as 300 homes and cabins.
Fire spokesman Jason Curry said the Dollar Ridge Fire had reached 30,000 acres by Monday evening, and 35 mph wind gusts were expected Tuesday with fire behavior already characterized as “explosive.”
“That is burning embers coming to you, landing in your dry fuels,” Curry said. “We’re not even able to get crews on the ground near the fire.”
Late Monday, the Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office said a LDS church in Fruitland that had been serving as a shelter was full.
Additional evacuees were being directed to Duchesne High School, while animals were being housed at the Duchesne County Fairgrounds.
Some evacuees, including Jenny Taylor of Roosevelt, were only given minutes to gather their belongings and leave.
“It’s probably gone by now,” Taylor said of her cabin. “It’s sad. Makes me want to cry — lot of money, lot of time. All gone.”
As the flames crept over the hillside in Fruitland Monday afternoon, Roy Warner said the smoke which loomed in large plumes overhead reminded him of a “real bad thunderstorm.”
“I think the gods are angry,” Warner said. “Fires — they tend to work uphill, but that guy looks like he wants to come down.”
The fire was zero percent contained Monday, and Curry cautioned that more evacuations were possible.
Cheryl London said she hoped those affected by the fire would avoid injury and that their property would avoid damage as much as possible.
“I just hope to God everybody gets out and nobody loses their life over this,” London said.
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