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ALTON, Kane County — Residents of a mountain community in Kane County are being allowed to return home in "limited escorts" a day after being ordered to evacuate due to wildfire danger in the area.
In a social media post on Wednesday afternoon, Kane County Emergency Services said that the escorts were being conducted so Alton residents can retrieve personal items from the homes they fled Tuesday. The nearby Left Fork Fire had burned over 3,984 acres as of Wednesday, officials said.
Bryce Woodlands Estates, the area that was evacuated, is reported to have about 300 properties with approximately 100 cabins, all surrounded by a "heavily wooded area," Kane County Sheriff's Lt. Alan Alldredge said.
"While the evacuation remains in place for Bryce Woodlands Estates, the Kane County Sheriff will be offering limited escorts into the area," says Wednesday's Facebook post. "This is restricted to residents only, allowing them to gather and remove personal items from their property. We ask that residents bring proof of ownership, as well as few vehicles/people as possible. This effort will be coordinated by the Sheriff's Deputy staffing the evacuation closure. Escorts are allowed between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., and residents are asked to minimize the time within the closure to mitigate risk. This escort may be rescinded as fire behavior changes. Residents who do temporarily enter the area should be prepared to leave at any time should the situation change."
Utah fire officials said the Left Fork Fire began on June 18 in the Dixie National Forest, 10 miles southwest of Bryce Canyon City. The fire spread due to recent high winds, pushing it southwest toward some homes and cabins in the area, Alldredge said.
The evacuation efforts began at about noon Tuesday, and Alldredge said that there were about 20 people who evacuated, also stating that the homes are often vacation homes, with some full-time residents.
Officials also said that the Dixie National Forest Service has expanded the area and trail closure surrounding the fire for public and firefighter safety, and encouraged people "be aware when heading into the area and plan ahead."
The @usfsdnf has expanded the Area, Road and Trail Closure surrounding the #LeftForkFire for public and firefighter safety. Please be aware when heading into the area and plan ahead. https://t.co/UzQE2Qx5PO— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) June 21, 2022
Correction: An earlier version reported that a portion of Kanab was evacuated instead of Alton.