SALT LAKE CITY — A group of Salt Lake City campers scrambled to escape their site this weekend after smoke and flames from the Upper Provo Fire appeared on the horizon.
Bryant Cunningham said he and his friends made the right call Friday, leaving a lot of their belongings behind to get to safety.
Cunningham said it was supposed to be a relaxing weekend in the Uinta Mountains, near the border of Summit and Wasatch counties. But within a few hours, that changed as smoke and flames from the growing Upper Provo fire started moving toward them.
“Had a ton of tents and everything set up,” he said. “And we didn’t initially know that there was a fire that had started because our camp was over the hill and back down in a ravine.”
Within a few hours, Cunningham said smoke started moving toward them.
“People started coming down Murdock Basin Road, and saying, ‘Hey, do you know there’s a fire? You gotta get out of here,'” Cunningham said.
They started packing up, but the smoke started towering over them.
“With the smell and the darkening skies, it was just like, yeah, we don’t need this stuff, right?” Cunningham said. “We can get out of here and we can replace it.”
He said they left about half their gear behind. Looking back, he still believes they made the right call.
“We still realize that, you know, the winds could have shifted at any moment,” he said. “They could of come out of the north and blown south like it was.”
Fire danger remained extremely high across the state and firefighters asked people to be careful outdoors because of dry conditions, low humidity and high winds.
Cunningham said it’s left him with at least one more thing to consider the next time he goes camping.
“The next time we go camping, kind of in a remote area like that, to kind of think, OK, about is this a good spot if I have to hurry and get out?” he said.
Cunningham and his friends did get their gear back. He said forest rangers pulled it out after the fire was out in the area.