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Families expected back into threatened fire areas Monday morning

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 7:02 p.m. MDT

Burned areas show near homes at the Rockport fire in Rockport, Summit County, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.  (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Burned areas show near homes at the Rockport fire in Rockport, Summit County, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — After nearly a week of burning, the Rockport Fire in Summit County was 90 percent contained Sunday night and residents kept from their homes throughout the ordeal were expected to be allowed back into the area Monday morning.

As of Sunday night, there were 11 fires burning in Utah, stretching resources and keeping firefighters hoping for calm conditions as they gained the upper hand on most of the fires. Thousands of acres have burned, but there have been no injuries and damage to structures has been largely contained to the Rockport Fire.

This lightning-caused fire ravaged eight homes in the Rockport Estates and Rockport Ranches and consumed 1,920 acres. But firefighters have gained near total containment and said they will allow residents back into the area at 8 a.m. Monday. The evacuation remained in place over the weekend so firefighters could have full access to hot spots in areas with unburned fuel within the fire perimeter.

Full containment was expected by the end of day Monday, according to Bryce Boyer, Rockport Fire incident commander and Summit County district warden. A 20-man crew, two engines and the Summit Fire Department would remain on scene to finish cleanup. They will monitor the weather conditions, smouldering and hot spots throughout the week.

Although eight homes were destroyed, crews worked "very hard" to preserve homes that otherwise may have been burned, Boyer said.

"Several people that have seen [the homes] were surprised the homes were still there," he said. Families who lost structures or homes were allowed within the restricted area, Sunday.

Elsewhere in Utah:

Farmington Spine Fire: The fire began Friday a mile south of Farmington Canyon and burned 58 acres, casting a glow throughout the night Friday easily seen by motorists driving along Interstate 15.

The fire was caused by target shooting and was 100 percent contained Sunday evening, according to Kim Osborn, fire information officer for the United States Forest Service. The Farmington Canyon area was closed through Sunday evening but was expected to open Monday morning. Three 20-person crews, four engines, one helicopter and other overhead resources were being used to fight the fire.

Osborn said a law enforcement officer from the United States Forest Service interviewed five individuals who were target shooting in the area at the time the fire started. No charges have been filed in relation to the case. But the case remained open.

Patch Springs Fire: The fire began Aug. 10, two miles northwest of Terra in Skull Valley, Tooele County. It burned 31,010 acres and was 25 percent contained by Sunday evening. It was anticipated that the fire would grow to the east and north on Monday.

Fourteen engines, five 20-person crews, a water tender, five helicopters, air tankers, three bulldozers and air attack were on scene to battle the fire that threatened 12 homes, five commercial outbuildings and five outbuildings.

Highway 199, Johnson's Pass Road, remained closed Sunday night.

An overhead team took command of the fire Sunday so resources could be allocated to fight fires elsewhere in the state

State Fire: The State fire raged in Idaho and Utah, eight to 10 miles west of Portage in Box Elder County. This lightning-caused fire began Aug. 8 and consumed 29,827 acres. It was 80 percent contained Sunday night.

Millville Fire: East of Hyrum, in Cache County, a lightning-caused fire caused the Sheriff's Office to evacuate campers and residences up Blacksmiths Fork Canyon. The Millville fire, threatened about 167 residences and began Aug. 11. It was 40 percent contained by Sunday.

Crews totaled 200 people, including six hand crews, 11 engines and three helicopters. On Sunday, helicopters dropped retardant in addition to water over the blaze. A Type 3 Incident Command Team was called in to fight the flames that consumed 2,864 acres by Sunday night, according to Larry Lucas, United States Forest Service spokesperson.

Mt. Elmer Fire: In Logan, the Mt. Elmer Fire, sparked by lightning, had burned 61 acres. The fire was being monitored, but crews were not fighting it because of "higher priority fires elsewhere," according to Utah Fire information.

222 Fire: Fire crews worked to secure a perimeter around the 1,631 acre fire that burned 15 miles southwest of Eureka in Juab County, caused by lightning Friday. Fire crews worked with limited resources and battled difficult terrain and unpredictable winds, according to officials. It was 50 percent contained as of Sunday night, according to officials.

Santaquin Pole Fire: The fire ignited on Saturday in Pole Canyon, south of Santaquin and consumed 40 acres by Sunday evening. It was uncertain what percentage of this fire was contained. Tankers with flame retardant were working on the fire Sunday morning.

Tank Fire: At least 50 percent of the 94-acre fire that began north of Highway 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon, was contained as of Sunday evening.

Grace Fire: Lightning started this fire that burned 245 acres 12 miles north of Escalante.

Middle Creek Fire:Saturday night rain assisted crews which were fighting the lightning-caused fire that began Wednesday. It consumed 80 acres and had zero percent contained as of Sunday night. A 20-person crew and five-person squad were joined by three engines, one helicopter, two volunteer fire department water tenders and air personnel. Crews were helped by helicopter drops as they tried to create containment lines.

For more information on fires in Utah, visit utahfireinfo.gov or inciniweb.org.

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