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*Status report as of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday:- 4,351 acres burned
- approx 225 homes evacuated
- 3 homes destroyed
- 50 percent contained
- 400+ firefighters on hand* - - - - - -
HERRIMAN -- Hundreds of Herriman residents remain homeless Tuesday night, as their houses are still under evacuation order. But firefighters and emergency crews called this "pivotal day" a success.
The massive Machine Gun Fire in the hills south of Herriman fire is now 50 percent contained. In a press conference Tuesday evening fire officials said 225 homes remain under evacuation orders, but even that situation is improving.
We understand there's a big frustration ... but at the end of the day, we need to make sure that we all can look you in the eye and say that you're gonna be safe if we let you go in and get a good night's sleep.
–Chief Michael Jensen, UFA
"We were planning for the worst, and we had all of our resources in place, and things worked really, really well," said Scott Bushman, with the U.S. Forest Service.
The number of crews working on the wildfire doubled Tuesday, with more than 400 firefighters spending the day fortifying fire lines as high winds picked up.
"When the wind event came, we really saw a little bit of growth interior burning out isolated pockets, but other than that it held real well," Bushman said.
Containing the flames in areas near homes was a priority throughout the day. Firefighters succeeded on the eastern flank, where the Blackridge neighborhood is located. Those evacuations were lifted Tuesday night.
But on the western side of the fire, near Rose Canyon Road and Mountain Top Drive, evacuations are still in place.
"We want to have everybody safe," said United Fire Authority Chief Michael Jensen. "We understand there's a big frustration. We understand people want to get back into their houses. We sympathize with you, but at the end of the day we need to make sure that we all can look you in the eye and say that you're gonna be safe if we let you go in and get a good night's sleep."
Jensen said approximately 225 homes remain under mandatory evacuation orders.
- CLICK HERE for a list of streets still evacuated
- CLICK HERE for latest evacuation map
Unified police officers once again escorting people back to their homes in Rose Canyon to retrieve essential items. They say residents who need an escort should meet up with officers at the intersection of Rose Canyon Road and Mountain Top Drive.
Many residents at the press conference were frustrated to hear the news. One woman we talked to said the stress of not being able to go home is really affecting her.
"I'm disoriented and off balance and stuff, and it's probably the tension and stress because my two baby horses are out there somewhere. They let them loose. They wouldn't let me take them," said Herriman resident Carole Atkins
Still, Jensen cautioned that just because you can no longer see a lot of smoke and flames, it doesn't mean it's safe.
"We don't want to give the public a false sense of security that we've got a percent of containment so they feel like they should be going back in, and we don't want to put them in harm's way because we are going to have different weather conditions," he said.
- Homeowners trying to make insurance claims must have this case number: 15568.
- The Utah National Guard will also 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.
Fire crews say Wednesday might be another day of high winds, so they'll continue to be aggressive with all hands on deck.
For those people who have damaged homes and are trying to make insurance claims, UFA says the case number is 15568. The number is required to make an insurance claim.
In addition, Utah National Guard has said the 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.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross evacuation site originally operating at Herriman High School was moved to the LDS Church at 4501 W. 11800 South. That center was scheduled to cease operations at noon Tuesday, but Herriman City spokeswoman Nicole Martin said the city has decided to leave it open so evacuees can continue to receive aid. Residents who have been evacuated and still need help can also go to Herriman City Hall or call 801-446-5323.
Story compiled with contributions from Nicole Gonzales, Anne Forester and Nkoyo Iyamba.