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Evacuations lifted, crews continue to battle fire on Alpine mountainside

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ALPINE — Twenty-five homes were evacuated as a precaution about 3 a.m. Sunday as crews continued to battle a fire on the mountainside east of Alpine, officials said.

Later Sunday afternoon, however, fire officials lifted those evacuations, allowing about 120 displaced people to return to their homes.

Crews continued battling the blaze, which grew from about 50 acres when it started Saturday to about 400 acres Sunday.

As of Sunday night, the fire was 25 percent contained, fire officials reported.

"Our No. 1 priority right now is public safety," said Shayne Ward, spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. "We're making sure that the areas around the homes are safe and secure."

Evacuated neighborhoods included Preston Drive, Golden Eagle Circle, and Bald Mountain Circle, Ward said.

The brush and grass fire was started by a group shooting guns, according to

However, the exact cause is still under investigation, Ward said, adding that the fire was "human-caused."

No injuries or damaged structures resulting from the fire have been reported.

Ward said at least 100 people are helping fight the fire from numerous agencies, including crews from the U.S. Forest Service, Utah County, Lone Peak, other area fire departments, and even a crew from the National Guard.

"Everybody's out here helping out," Ward said. "We're getting anybody from airplanes in the sky, helicopters, to hot shot crews on the ground, engines on the ground. … We even have a Black Hawk coming."

The blaze is one of the state agency's "top priorities right now," he said, because of its size and proximity to neighborhoods.

"This is a big deal," Ward said. "There are a lot of homes here."

As of Sunday morning, there were no other homes or structures threatened, "but, again, this is a wildfire," he said.

"It's still active and it is burning," Ward said, adding that fire officials will keep the public informed if any other properties become threatened.

As the sun rose Sunday, fire officials said they were better able to combat the blaze with crews on the ground and in the sky. The lower portions of the fire were quickly suppressed, and as the day went on, crews were able to move up the flanks of the fire, preventing it from moving up or down the valley, fire officials said.

As of Sunday night, the only remaining "active" portion of the fire was higher up on the mountainside in a wilderness area.

Fire officials say ground crews Monday will continue to "mop up" the fire perimeter and make greater headway on fully containing the fire.


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Katie McKellar


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