PARK CITY -- More than 100 residents forced out of their mountainside homes last week by a destructive wildfire near Utah ski resort town returned home Monday morning with the blaze almost fully contained.
Fire officials lifted an evacuation at 8 a.m. Monday for Rockport Estates and Rockport Ranches in Summit County, about 45 miles east of Salt Lake City.
The homeowners had been displaced since Tuesday when lightning ignited the fast-moving blaze that burned seven houses and one yurt in those two subdivisions.
Fire officials say the 3.1-squre mile fire is 90 percent contained. At the height of the blaze, 250 homes were evacuated.
Neighbors gathered outside the gates to the subdivisions early Monday morning, hugging and thanking firefighters.
"I think this is going to bring us together," homeowner Siraj Paletta told the Deseret News. Her home was among the ones saved.
Tschana Schiller told The Salt Lake Tribune the blaze didn't damage her home, but came within about 100 feet. She and her husband, Matt Schiller, said they cleared brush away from around their house just three weeks ago -- an act they believe may have helped save their home.
They camped nearby for the past week waiting for the evacuation to be lifted.
The Utah Department of Health left Ziploc bags on each of the homes with information about the condition of the house, the Deseret News reported.
They used three colors to denote the condition of the home. Green was for homes completely undamaged. Yellow tags indicated there had been some exterior damage, but that the home was still livable. The red tags were placed on homes that were destroyed.
The fire came within a football field of Dick Sandoval's house, which was built in 2009, he told The Tribune. He said he was grateful to be able to return home and that his house was untouched.
Like many of the residents, Wendy Gray took the time to thank the firefighters who worked to slow the fire before it did more damage. She teared up as she thanked Ken Smith, North Summit County Fire Department chief, the Deseret News reported.
"Right now I'm just filled with gratitude for the firefighters," Gray said.
Firefighters will remain on the scene this week in case homeowners see smoke or having any other concerns.
The state's biggest blaze, the Patch Springs Fire southwest of Salt Lake City, is 45 percent contained Monday afternoon. It is 50 square miles, but hasn't grown since Saturday, said fire official Denise Cobb
Cobb said the fire burned eight travel trailers near Willow Springs, four of which were used as primary homes. It also burned an historic lodge.
The fire is still burning through timber on both sides of the Stansbury Mountains. All evacuations have been lifted, and Utah Route 199 has been reopened.
"It's not over yet, but we're feeling good," Cobb said.