Fire crews take KSL News to frontline battle

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HERRIMAN -- The wind has been a main concern for fire crews in Herriman over the past couple of days as they've worked to contain the Machine Gun Fire. Tuesday, crews showed us what it was like on the front lines.

For the second time in three days, Terry Shobe saw fire burning toward his home. This time, though, firefighters were in control.

"These guys are doing a fabulous job," Shobe said. "They were up here when fire and smoke first started coming up the hillside."

Shobe was one of the evacuated residents who got an escort to the Rose Canyon area Tuesday to see for what was left of his house. He was surprised it was OK.

"Well, yeah. Not knowing what to expect, we expected most of the houses would be burned a little bit," Shobe said.

One of his neighbor's homes was burned, but just the side of it.

To keep the wildfire from burning back towards Shobe's neighborhood, crews were busy setting fires in the shrub brush.

The technique is called back burning. The thinking is if the big fire spreads to that spot, there won't be anything left for it to burn and it will die down.

"This is our biggest concern, these people's houses. We want to make sure that no more of them burn down," said Brad Wilkes, firefighter with the Layton Fire Department.

The fire already came through this area once; air tankers have dumped flame retardant to try and put out the original fire. Hot spots keep popping up.

"With the winds starting to blow again real hard, we want to make sure everything is out," Wilkes said.

That meant firefighters had to keep moving, digging lines around where the fire could come back.

"Make it so if the fire does crest this hill, it'll be pretty isolated from any additional fuel," explained Jason Curry, spokesman for the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

If all goes as planned, the flames will remain isolated from houses too.

"We're pretty optimistic, but you never know," Wilkes said.


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