Nearly 9,000 residents evacuate neighborhoods near Saratoga Springs fire
'Dump Fire' quadrupled in size Friday to over 4,100 acres
But at that time, Mercado said her neighbors weren't overly concerned about being evacuated. But when she attempted to drive home after her errand, police had started to block off the road. She convinced them to let her go back to her home to grab her dogs and priceless mementos made from her son who passed away. Police told her she had two minutes.
"Can't replace pictures, can't replace other things that were made because we knew he was going to pass away," she said.
Michelle Goertzen was also surprised by the evacuation order.
"They knocked on my door, said really loud, 'We need you to get out.' I said, 'How long?' They said 15 minutes and they stayed there until we left," she said.
The fire was about a mile away from Goertzen's home when she and her family were evacuated. They were able to grab photo albums, important documents and their cat before leaving.
Mike Wren and his wife weren't as lucky. The Wrens, who live in the Jacob's Ranch subdivision, weren't home when the evacuations and closures occurred.
"We were at work and we were both told not to go home," he said.
David Wadley was evacuated from his home in Eagle Mountain.
"There was orange light coming through the blinds in the bathroom so we opened it up. Up the street behind us, there are cop cars coming down the street and they were running up to everybody's house telling them all obviously to get out. We knew what was going on, so then we just stopped, ran upstairs and picked up the kids' bags," he said.
Marcelo Salomone, bishop of the Spanish-speaking LDS Cedar Pass 13th Ward in Eagle Mountain, said about 500 members of his congregation were evacuated. He is offering his church for people displaced by the fire.
"We are ready for them. We have our building open … not just for our people but for everyone," he said.
Salomone said he has lived in the area for 10 years and has never seen a fire like this one. "Stay calm, stay together as a family and be communicative all the time," he encouraged.
Ash from the fire was seen falling in Draper, and smoke could be seen throughout both Utah Valley and the Salt Lake Valley.
Smoke coupled with hot conditions led state air quality regulators to issue a “Red Air” alert for Friday, which is likely to continue into Saturday for Utah, Salt Lake and Davis counties.
Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Donna Kemp Spangler said the abnormally hot temperatures were already pushing these areas into the red zone on Thursday, so smoke from Friday’s fast-moving fire made it worse.
Under these conditions, Spangler said young children and the elderly should remain indoors if at all possible and minimize exposure to the unhealthy air. The conditions also pose trouble for people who suffer from respiratory illnesses and outdoor exertion should be avoided.
Lee said the fire had originally threatened an explosives company, the Dyno Nobel plant in Eagle Mountain, but ended up burning around the plant. "So that's very good news," she said.
Fire crews were also busy Friday battling a 5,000-acre wildfire near Delta. It started about 1 p.m. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
As of Friday evening, the fire was burning near Highway 6 near the towns of Leamington and Lynndyl.
Related blog: Gunfire started this one, could be fireworks next time
Contributing: Emiley Morgan, Amy Joi O'Donoghue
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