WILDFIRES

UPDATE: Wanship Fire 100% contained, evacuation orders lifted

Jul 17, 2022, 4:28 PM | Updated: Jul 26, 2022, 3:18 pm

WANSHIP, Utah – Evacuation orders for Summit County residents living near Wanship were lifted Sunday night, hours after a barn blaze turned into a wildfire that barreled toward several homes.

Summit County officials said the Wanship Fire was 100% contained as of Monday morning.

The fire broke out in what was described as an antique barn on the east edge of town, along Old Lincoln Highway.

“We believe that the fire started in the top of a barn which was kind of a central structure, and then spread to some nearby sheds and outbuildings and then up the hill in some of the dry grass,” said Derek Siddoway, communication and public engagement director for Summit County.

At first, Siddoway said only the home on the property with the barn was evacuated. Later, as flames chewed through the brush toward other houses, an Emergency Alert was issued to cell phones announcing mandatory evacuations for everyone living in the vicinity of 30042 Old Lincoln Highway.

“It seemed like the flames were as high if not higher than the houses,” said Derrick Peterson, who lives nearby and watched the blaze move fast. “We were kind of worried about some of the houses actually getting caught on fire.”

The alert announced a temporary shelter at 30899 Old Lincoln Highway in Wanship.

At the shelter, neighbors stood in the parking lot and looked across toward their homes. Fire trucks and firefighters dotted the hillside, protecting the homes from flames.

Flames shot up in various places. At one point, the crowd cheered as a helicopter dropped water to help slow the fire.

Ron Casper sat and watched his home in the distance.

“Two state troopers and a sheriff’s deputy come and says, ‘Out. Now. Go,'” he recounted.

Leaving on a moment’s notice, Ron grabbed what he could before loading into his truck and driving away.

“Pictures of my late wife, my family and my medicine,” he said. “Yep, and they said, ‘Now,’ so I grabbed what I could and left.”

He could see the property around his home completely charred from the fire. He didn’t know if the flames damaged his home but said someone could see melted siding through a spotting scope.

Ron said this is the third wildfire that has burned near his home, but this one came the closest. It left him thinking of his late wife, Jane, hoping his house stayed safe.

“Her and I built that home almost 50 years ago, I mean literally by hand, her and I,” he said, pausing. “It’s so full of memories. I couldn’t lose that.”

Firefighters made sure Ron didn’t lose his home. By Sunday night, the 40-acre fire was 40% contained.

Around 9 p.m., the evacuations were lifted, and everyone could return home.

Siddoway said the exact cause of the fire is under investigation.

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UPDATE: Wanship Fire 100% contained, evacuation orders lifted