Quail Fire burns in hills above Alpine, evacuations ordered

Published: Tuesday, July 3 2012 7:00 p.m. MDT

Fire Management Assistance Grants come from federal monies that the state has paid into an insurance program. The financial assistance is available to help pay the cost of fighting fires and provides a 75 percent federal cost share for the actual costs that are incurred.

Alpine Mayor Hunt Willoughby said Tuesday's fire was something that he and other city officials feared would happen but had tried to address.

"We did the complete ban on all open fires and fireworks a week or so ago based on the fire chief’s recommendations," he said. "The fire and the conditions that have been around it have been so dangerous that we thought it best to do that.” 

Suzanne Davis, who lives on the Alpine/Highland border, said there seemed to be a lot of people who drove to the area to watch the fire burn. She wasn't too worried about losing her home, however, since the fire was heading in another direction.

"I don’t see it coming down the mountain. I don’t see it headed toward any structures, coming towards Highland,” she said. “I have seen once in a while a flare up, but I did see a plane come and drop the retardant down and that has slowed down the fire."

"It's too dry. People aren't safe," Alpine resident Ryan Smith said while watching the fire grow. "Even when you are the safest, it's not safe to light fireworks."

Reid Shelley with the U.S. Forest Service said a Type 2 incident management team was called in to fight the fire, which will bring more resources.

This type of incident extends beyond the capabilities for local control and is expected to go into multiple operational periods, according to the Federal Emergency Management Association website. A Type 2 incident may require the response of resources out of area, including regional and/or national resources, according to FEMA.

"We're getting thin" on personnel to fight the fire, Shelley said.

Mark Woolsey of Hauula, Hawaii, flew in Tuesday morning to stay at his father's house, which is about ¾ of a mile from where the fire started.

"First thing I said when I came in this morning was that with no rain, it's just a matter of time before a fire breaks out in this area," said Woolsey, who was on his way to Philmont, N.M., to train with Boy Scouts. "I was just about to take a nap when my dad said, 'You gotta come up and see this.'

"The fire just got bigger and bigger, and finally it just went right up the mountain."

"We're evacuated almost yearly because of tsunami scares," the Hawaii resident said. "What do you put in your car to take?"

Contributing: Viviane Vo'Duc, Alex Cabrero

Twitter: @FinleyJY

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