WILDFIRES

Boulder Falls On Front Porch Of Home Near Round Peak Fire

Jul 17, 2019, 7:09 AM | Updated: 1:56 pm

SPRINGVILLE, Utah – One of the three wildfires burning in Utah is affecting residents nearby in more ways than one.

Crews are battling the Round Peak Fire, which has burned nearly 300 acres and is 5% contained. While the flames are definitely a concern for Springville residents, the fire is causing additional damage beyond just the burned mountainside.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, a giant boulder lodged behind a clump of oak came crashing down the mountain Tuesday night after the tree burned away in the blaze.

The boulder reportedly bounced up to 200 feet before splitting into two. One piece was stopped by a grove of trees. The the remaining piece rolled at an estimated speed of about 50 miles per hour when it landed between two homes, rolled across the street, and came to rest at the front door of the Knowlden residence.

“We heard this horrendous noise,” Pat Knowlden said. “I couldn’t figure it out what it was because it wasn’t, you know, a noise we’re familiar with.”

Knowlden said she told her husband she thought there had been explosion. She looked outside toward the mountain to see if perhaps a plane had crashed — and she didn’t immediately see the boulder at her front porch.

“Holy cow!” she recalled saying. “How’d that get here?”

“That rock just broke loose on its own,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Kim Osborn. “When you have a fire burn up through there, it burns the vegetation around it, so it kind of loosens the rock. It wasn’t hit by retardant. No one was working right near that rock to loosen anything.”

Springville resident Don Meyers said he was watching fire crews from his backyard at the time, and he saw the two boulders as they tumbled down the mountain.

“It was scary,” he said. “We were moving to get out of the way because we were afraid they would come right into our house.”

“The big one took a bounce and moved its direction, came through these two houses and you can see where it landed,” he added.

No injuries were reported, although there is some property damage. The Forestry Service will bring a crane to the neighborhood to remove the boulder sometime Wednesday.

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Boulder Falls On Front Porch Of Home Near Round Peak Fire