Despite fire and rain, one Utah couple ties the knot

Published: Saturday, Aug. 17 2013 8:40 p.m. MDT

Travis Mann and Tawni Sprouse take wedding photos after their wedding at The Old Church in Wanship on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. The wedding was supposed to take place at Rockport Estates, but had to be moved two times because of the wildfires and weather.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

FARMINGTON — Firefighters across the state kept their eyes both on the landscape and the weather Saturday.

Crews continued to battle more than a half-dozen wildfires from Garfield to Cache counties, while several also monitored storms that passed through parts of the state, bringing lightning, wind and welcome rain.

In Farmington, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kim Osborn said bad weather did not hinder suppression efforts on the Farmington Spine Fire.

"We didn't get any of the weather others have gotten," Osborn said early Saturday evening.

Crews were able to bring that fire to 50 percent containment by Saturday night.

The fire that was very visible Friday night with its orange glow on the mountainside above Lagoon, east of I-15, had burned 58 acres, a revised figure down from 75 on Friday. By Saturday afternoon, it was hard to tell there was still an active fire.

Two air tankers, two helicopters, four engines and three 20-person crews were used to build firebreaks and prevent the flames from reaching any structures. Farmington Canyon was closed most of Saturday while crews battled the blaze.

The fire is human caused, though Osborn could not confirm Saturday whether target shooters sparked it. Five people, however, were questioned by the US Forest Service. It was unclear Saturday whether those five were still under investigation or had been cleared.

Late Saturday afternoon, the Forest Service asked for anyone who took a picture of the fire when it started on Friday, before it got dark, to email them at utahforesttips@gmail.com.

In Summit County, crews battling the Rockport Fire that has been burning since Tuesday and destroyed eight homes in the Rockport Estates and Rockport Ranches subdivisions got some welcome rain. Though there are concerns about debris flows on the scarred land, it did not rain enough for that to happen Saturday.

Approximately 110 homes remained evacuated, with residents not expecting to return until Monday night at the earliest.

The fire remained at 1,920 acres burned but the containment was upped to 70 percent. Hot spots that have been flaring up near homes in the Rockport Estates region continued to keep firefighters on their toes Saturday.

Residents from the region, including Wanship and the once evacuated community of Bridge Hollow, held a fundraiser and barbecue Saturday for those who had lost their homes.

The fundraiser was held at Rafter-B Gas Station, the gas and convenience store on state Route 32 right off I-80, known for its home-cooked food. It has become a meeting point for many since the fire started. One of Rafter-B's employees was one of the eight homeowners who lost everything.

"Even if we didn't know them, it would still be personal just because it's in our community and we all gather together as a community," said Kim Alderman, who helped organize Saturday's fundraising event. "It's been a crazy week, but we're getting to the end of it, and I think everyone is doing OK."

Donations to the families were being dropped off by the pickup truck full Saturday.

"It just goes to show the people here are amazing," said Frankie Donaldson, another one of the organizers. "They're going to need a lot of help. They have absolutely nothing. We've had fires here before, but never to this devastation."

Also Saturday, Tawni Sprouse, the bride whose wedding dress was saved earlier this week from her home in Rockport Estates, got married to Travis Mann.

The couple, however, had to overcome both fire and rain before officially tying the knot.

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