CENTERVILLE -- Fire crews from all over Davis County and the surrounding area were battling a blaze on the mountains east of Centerville on Thursday night.
The call came in at 7:44 p.m. that a brush fire had started on the mountain at the east end of Parrish Lane, and by 9:45 p.m. South Davis Metro Fire Chief Jim Rampton estimated that the fire had consumed 20 to 30 acres of the mountainside. That was later updated to 40 acres.
"There is nothing (no homes) in danger at this point," Rampton said. "We've established a fire break line, and we're trying to keep it above that."
The fire was spreading north and south. At 9:45 p.m., the fire was still several hundred yards away from homes.
It was reported that a voluntary evacuation zone had been established. Blair Morris, Centerville LDS stake president, said church members prepared a telephone tree to notify area residents of the fire and opened the stake building as a shelter in case people would need it.
Doug Bitton, fire specialist for Layton Fire Department, said they did a precautionary evacuation of four homes close to the fire.
Resident Marcy Jewett, who lives five houses from the end of Parrish Lane, said the police department called around 8:45 p.m. and told her family they should evacuate. She had been watching the fire when it started and said she didn't think she would have to leave her home, as she expected the blaze to be contained. When she evacuated, she said, she grabbed some clothing and food and moved her car down the street so she would have access to it. Three of her sons were with her at 10 p.m. and she was still trying to locate her fourth son.
"God gives us all sorts of trials and challenges," she said, adding that despite the fire breaks, she wouldn't feel relieved until she was back at home and in bed.
Rampton noted there is a lot of fire load to burn on the mountain because it hasn't rained in a while. "These types of wildfires are extremely difficult to manage," he said, pointing out, as ash fell from the sky, that spot fires flaring up are always a concern.
Fire officials planned to continue to monitor wind and weather patterns and try to contain the fire.
Kathy Jo Pollock, of the Forest Service, said crews were prepared to be fighting the fire all night. She said there was the possibility of air support in the morning if the fire is still not out. If the fire is still burning in the morning, she said, the down-canyon winds could push it in a new direction. At times the winds blew the flames 10 to 15 feet in the air, but around 10 p.m., as the humidity rose, the fire dampered down and the threat to homes decreased, Pollock said.
Rampton said he had heard reports of witnesses seeing a fireball later in the night. Although the cause of the fire had not been officially determined, Rampton said the fire sounded suspicious, and police were interviewing someone late Thursday night who they suspected may have information about the fire.