WILDFIRES

Sheriff’s Deputies, Others Manage Long Lines At Checkpoints In Woodland Hills, Elk Ridge

Sep 18, 2018, 12:23 AM | Updated: 12:56 am

UTAH COUNTY, Utah – In the days since mandatory evacuations were ordered in Woodland Hills and Elk Ridge, sheriff’s deputies, other first-responders and volunteers have had to manage a high demand for escorted trips back into the evacuated communities to retrieve medications and other essentials.

Deputy Cheri Rhoades with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said the line at her checkpoint in Elk Ridge generally averages a 45-minute wait and is routinely 20 cars-deep and often can be longer.

“It’s been longer than we can even see it,” Rhoades said. “It gets very long at certain hours.”

With evacuees’ nerves already frazzled by the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires, waiting in long lines wouldn’t seem to help.

Rhoades, however, said Monday she had only dealt with one upset person, and everyone generally had been very calm and understanding of the situation.

Evacuees’ needs range from clothing to last an extended stay away from home to critical medications.

“If she goes without her shot injections, she could die,” Brittney Adams said of her dog.

Ron and Lesley Johnson said Monday afternoon that they were trying to get back into their house to retrieve items for a wedding.

“We have a son getting married — our last son getting married next week — and all the wedding decorations are up at our house,” Johnson said. “Another son is behind me, so we figured if we can get in, we can get everything in one trip and not come back again until they lift the ban.”

Several people showed up to the checkpoint Monday simply to drop off food and other supplies.

The uncertainty of the fire seemed to outweigh the length of the wait for many of the evacuees.

“It’s crazy — I didn’t know it’d be like this!” Jade Smith said. “So really, (I’m) just playing along.”

Johnson said he was grateful for the work of firefighters and other first-responders.

“I was on the Elk Ridge Fire Department for 13 years, and so I know what it’s like and what they go through,” Johnson said. “We really appreciate them.”

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Sheriff’s Deputies, Others Manage Long Lines At Checkpoints In Woodland Hills, Elk Ridge