Summit County wildfire closes highway

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:19 PM


PARK CITY -- A state highway remained closed due to wildfires in northern Utah, but the last evacuation orders were scheduled to be lifted Monday after a series of mountain fires burned more than a dozen homes.

More than 100 residents who were forced to leave Rockport Estates and Rockport Ranches in Summit County, about 45 miles east of Salt Lake City, will be allowed to return at 8 a.m., authorities said.

Among them are family members of one couple who tied the knot over the weekend at a backup ceremony at a century-old church after they had to flee the home of the bride's parents with her wedding dress.

Tawni Sprouce and Travis Mann originally planned to exchange their vows at her parents' home overlooking Rockport Reservoir. But the residence was among the scores evacuated in recent days after the lightning-sparked Rockport fire burned nearly 2,000 acres.

First, the couple moved the wedding to a campsite at Rockport State Park south of Interstate 80 near Waneship. But rain then pushed the ceremony inside the park's Old Church, which was originally was built in 1892. The church was moved to the base of the Rockport Dam after the reservoir was constructed in the 1950s.

Mann said that given the circumstances, the couple welcomed the rain. He said Saturday's ceremony eventually went off without a hitch.

The Rockport fire was estimated to be 70 percent contained late Sunday afternoon.

The state's biggest blaze, the Patch Springs Fire southwest of Salt Lake City, was estimated at 31,000 acres, or nearly 50 square miles, Sunday. It was 25 percent contained.

Evacuation orders have been lifted for that fire, which burned eight to 10 homes near Willow Springs. But state Highway 199 remained closed over Johnson Pass, where the fire was burning Sunday east of the Skull Valley Indian Reservation and west of the Tooele Army Depot.

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