Saddle Fire Burns Estimated 650 Acres, 20% Contained, Authorities Say
MIDWAY, Utah – The Saddle Fire burning in Wasatch County is about 650 acres and is 20% contained, according to Utah Fire Info.
Crews responded to the fire Tuesday afternoon and have been battling it since. At least nine homes were evacuated, and other residences near the fire were placed on standby in case the winds shifted.
On Wednesday, two additional crews joined in the efforts, with a total of 150 personnel assigned to the fire. Two Black Hawk helicopters provided additional air support.
“The Utah National Guard’s 2-211th Aviation Regiment is assisting more than 150 firefighters from local and state agencies … Utilizing water buckets, UTNG helicopters are able to drop water in difficult to reach areas,” according to a tweet from the Utah National Guard.
The Utah National Guard's 2-211th Aviation Regiment is assisting more than 150 firefighters from local and state agencies battling the ongoing Saddle Fire, just north of Midway. Utilizing water buckets, UTNG helicopters are able to drop water in difficult to reach areas. pic.twitter.com/AjwB1CyD25
— Utah National Guard (@UTNationalGuard) May 13, 2020
“We’re hoping with the change in the wind direction today to be able to do some more good work,” said Mike Erikson with the Division of Forestry and State Lands. “The west side is some really steep country. ”
State firefighters said they don’t usually see fires this large at this time of the year.
The Saddle Fire is the fourth fire in the area in the last week. Authorities believe they are human-caused, and a juvenile suspect has been taken into custody.
“(This is) not something we want to be dealing with when we know we’re going to get more natural fires throughout the summer here,” Erikson said.
— Felicia Martinez (@FeliciaKSL) May 13, 2020
As firefighters worked to contain the blaze, residents watched.
“Fire has always been one of our biggest concerns because up in Interlaken, there’s one way up and one way out,” said resident Dorene McLaughlin.
“After three fires, I knew it was a fire starter,” she added.
Hers was one of the nine homes that had to be evacuated Tuesday.
Authorities are hoping residents like McLaughlin can be cleared to return home Wednesday.
“We went up there this morning,” she said, pointing to her house. “No one stopped us, and were there about five minutes and there was a knock on the door. And they said, ‘You’re supposed to be out of here.'”
As a reminder to the public, authorities are asking people not to fly drones in the area. It not only puts firefighters in danger, but it’s also illegal.