Saratoga Springs residents assessing damage from Knolls Fire
Jun 29, 2020, 6:42 PM | Updated: 8:43 pm
(Damage done to the grass next to Alex Fenderson's home in Saratoga Springs. Credit: Alex Fenderson)
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Evacuation orders are lifted for people living near the Knolls Fire, although, there is still a chance they will have to pack up and leave again. In the meantime, some evacuees are getting their first look at the damage from Knolls Fire Monday afternoon.
City leaders say one home was destroyed by the blaze, but several other homes may have been damaged from the heat. There have been videos showing melted fences and playground equipment from the heat.
Alex Fenderson lives in the southern portion of the city, and the flames came right up to his backyard. He has lived in Saratoga Springs for three years, and he sees brush fires every year. However, this fire was especially frightening because of the 60 mph winds helping the flames race along the dry grass.
“If there was no wind, I wouldn’t have been so worried, but that wind made all the difference. [The fire] crossed the field in a matter of one or two minutes. It left us almost no time to get out of there”, he said.
Luckily, he and his children already had items packed up for a quick evacuation. He said the wind was blowing the flames directly toward his property.
“The smoke was going directly toward my house,” Fenderson said.
When Fenderson returned home, he saw the siding on one portion of the house had melted, plus there were some other portions of the façade that were ripped apart from the strong winds. However, he said, the most important things he wanted to protect were his children.
“Somethings are irreplaceable, theoretically, but nothing is more irreplaceable than loved ones. So, realistically speaking, if I had come back to a house that had burned down, if we made it out alive, that’s all I really would have cared about,” Fenderson said.
Saratoga Springs officials reported many people were trying to get a better look at the burnt car from the Knolls Fire. Too many, in fact.
5:30PM FIRE UPDATE:
There are far too many residents trying to look at the burn scar. They are blocking access for emergency personnel, creating congestion & safety concerns. We cannot stress it enough–STAY OUT of the affected neighborhoods & STAY OFF Lake Mountain.#KnollsFire pic.twitter.com/zQyE4kF008
— Saratoga Springs UT (@saratogasprngut) June 29, 2020
Fire officials said they were very happy with the progress they were able to make, and the forward momentum of the blaze slowed down, considerably. However, Bureau of Land Management Spokesperson Kari Boyd-Peak said they had to close their land to the public.
“It was to separate the public and the firefighters so we can get our firefighters in there safely.”
Boyd-Peak also said this area is very prone to brush fires. They’ve had three just in the month of June.