WILDFIRES

Chopper 5 Shows Just How Close Knolls Fire Came To Homes

Jun 29, 2020, 6:40 PM | Updated: 8:31 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – Chopper 5 flew over the Knolls Fire burn scar to give an exclusive view of just how close the fire got to destroying dozens of homes Sunday.

Firefighters managed to hold the line and save nearly all of the homes.

One home was destroyed and about a dozen others were damaged. Firefighters fought back the blaze just as it was bearing down on houses.

“It happened really fast,” said Jason Curry, with The Utah Division of Utah Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “That’s probably the take away for me. It was super aggressive.”

As Curry looked at video of the fire damage from Chopper 5, he felt fortunate that dozens of homes did not burn.

AMAZING, pure and simple. This is aerial footage from #Chopper5 of the aftermath of the #KnollsFire in Saratoga Springs. You can see just how close the blaze got to the homes. Thanks to the efforts of hardworking fire crews, damage was minimal. Thank you so much to all our firefighters out there who are keeping us safe! #Firefighters #SaratogaSprings #UtahCounty #Utah #KSLTV

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Monday, June 29, 2020

“Some really close calls,” he said.

The fire wiped out everything up to the large neighborhood on the south end of Saratoga Springs. Vinyl fences melted.

“I’ve seen a lot of urban interface fires, and I’ve seen a lot of fires that are driven by high winds,” said Curry. “But, the Knolls Fire yesterday was probably the combination of those two that beats them all that I’ve seen.”

Curry shot his own video around 3 p.m. as the fire raced within 100 yards of homes on the south end of the community.

Firefighters set backfires ahead of the fast-approaching flames.

Knolls Fire Destroys Backyard Fence

Video shows the Knolls Fire as it rips through a backyard in Saratoga Springs.🎥: Deputy Haymond

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Sunday, June 28, 2020

“It’s a burn out operation that we do all the time to fight fire with fire,” said Curry. “You can start a fire that will burn out where the fire is headed and remove the fuel.”

But, on a day like yesterday, with wind gusts over 50 mph, setting their own fires takes a lot of coordination, and protection to keep from losing control.

“Pretty gut-wrenching, and a difficult decision to make, and also very risky,” Curry said.

In other areas, fire crews positioned between homes fought off the fire as it arrived.

“There were engines in place with their hoses charged ready to fight fire,” said Curry.

He credited local, state and federal firefighters for their coordination and execution.

“They had to have saved many, many homes,” Curry noted.

Cooler weather and rain also helped subdue the fire overnight into Monday.

Evacuations were lifted and the fire was 25% contained Monday. It had burned over 10,000 acres.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Chopper 5 Shows Just How Close Knolls Fire Came To Homes