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The Fire In Herriman (Updated)

The Fire In Herriman (Updated)

Posted - Sep. 20, 2010 at 8:29 a.m.



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Status report as of 7 a.m. Tuesday:

* 4,300 acres burned * 450 homes evacuated * 3 homes destroyed * 20 percent of the fire contained

HERRIMAN -- The fire burning south of Herriman is still largely uncontained Tuesday morning. Firefighters anticipate shifting winds as they return to the mountains to fight the blaze that destroyed three homes and forced thousands people to evacuate their homes.

While progress has been made, the community of Herriman is still threatened.

Much of the success of Tuesday's firefighting effort will depend on the weather. A Red Flag Warning for high winds takes effect at noon and continues through 9 p.m.

Marshall Thompson from the Bureau of Land Management says the fire was relatively calm overnight. It has burned 4,346 acres and is 20 percent contained.

Additional crews arrived Tuesday morning. They will focus on the western and eastern flanks of the fire, reinforcing fire lines established Sunday night and Monday.

Thompson says it's unlikely that the fire can be contained before winds are expected to kick up Tuesday afternoon. However, he says fire crews are prepared.

"We've done heavy protection around the area, putting in bulldozer lines and overnight reinforcing the lines with resources," Thompson says. "The areas that still are on the mandatory evacuation, they are not out of harm's way yet. We'll see how things go this afternoon with the high winds."

Originally about 5,000 residents were evacuated after the fire began at Camp Williams Sunday afternoon. Many of them were allowed to return to their homes Monday. Currently 450 homes remain under mandatory evacuation orders.

Those homes are within these subdivisions:

* Hi Country II * Majestic Oaks View * Rosecrest (South of Emmeline Drive) * Lookout Ridge

* CLICK HERE for a list of streets still evacuated * CLICK HERE for latest evacuation map

As residents returned to their homes Monday, it was obviously very emotional as they learned pictures, memorabilia and things that can't be replaced have been lost forever.

"What hurts the most is I built it with my hands, and I wanted to give it to my daughter," said Val Johnson. Johnson, like many other homeowners, blames Camp Williams for the fire and they're angry about it.

The Utah National Guard acknowledges that officials there should have checked weather warnings before starting target practice that ultimately sparked the blaze on Sunday.

Major General Brian Tarbet of the Utah National Guard admits, "These are the citizens we're sworn to protect and we did not do that Sunday."

He says had his staff checked they would have seen the Red Flag Warning for fire conditions posted by the National Weather Service on Sunday.

Larry Dunn, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City says, "The message with the Red Flag Watch and especially with a warning is that the conditions are right for extreme fire behavior. If a fire does get started it's likely to spread rapidly."

Tarbot has vowed to revise procedures, although he admits that's a promise he made years ago following another wildfire. He says the Utah Army National Guard will pay claims for homes lost in the fire.

Claims will be processed through the U.S. Army Claims Service at Fort Carson, Colo. For more information call 801-432-4980 or toll free 877-901-4980.

The schools in the Jordan School District that were closed Monday due to the fire will be back in session Tuesday morning.

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