FRUIT HEIGHTS — Lightning sparked the fire that burned up the mountain from Fruit Heights, according to U.S. Forest Service Public Information Officer Kim Osborn.
She said Monday evening that the suspected lightning strike happened several days ago, causing smoldering, but didn’t erupt into a full-blown fire until the blaze became apparent earlier Monday.
The Francis Fire, as it’s been dubbed, covered 100 to 200 acres, at least partially on Forest Service land around Fruit Heights, as of Monday evening, she said. The blaze, burning near Adams Canyon east of the city, spurred mandatory evacuations Monday evening that were lifted at 10 p.m. in part of northern Fruit Heights, along Oakmont Lane and Mountain Road near Kaysville, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office said.
The evacuation order was lifted in part because the blaze was higher up the mountain, further from populated areas. “However, people need to be on the ready to go if they get a knock on the door,” Osborn said.
Osborn said two air tankers had dropped 6,000 gallons of fire retardant on the flames since it started. Multiple fire engines were expected to be staffed overnight in residential areas as a precaution to safeguard homes. Hot shot crews had started to arrive Monday night, but Osborn wasn’t sure if they’d immediately start work or wait until Tuesday morning, daylight.
Davis County, along with the rest of Northern Utah, is under a red flag warning until 4 a.m. Tuesday. Wind gusts as high as 40-50 mph are expected during this time.
Osborn said firefighters were hoping a cold front will come through around midnight, switching the direction of the winds and “pushing the fire back into itself, which is a good thing.”
An evacuation center was established at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building at 900 E. 200 North, Kaysville Police stated in a tweet.
Monday afternoon Layton City urged anyone in or around Adams Canyon to evacuate immediately as the fire was pushing north. Davis County Search and Rescue assisted with evacuations in the area, closing Bair, Ward and Adams trails. Later, the officials turned their focus to keeping people off the trails.
The Davis County Animal Care and Control at 142 E. 600 North is in the area of the fire and had not been evacuated, but a fire engine is on the scene in case flames get close.
The shelter said in a Facebook post that they are OK and “appreciate your care for us and the animals.”
“As of right now we have fire personnel onsite should the fire change directions,” the shelter said. “All animals are prepared and we have enough vehicles and personnel to get the animals out safely should we need to evacuate.”
Parents of some students from Morgan and East Layton elementary schools who use buses were instructed to pick up their kids because buses weren’t allowed east of U.S. 89 or south of Adams Canyon.
A call from the school district is how local resident Melanie Hill first heard of the fire. A neighbor also came by to say the area, at the time, was under a voluntary evacuation order. She said she lives in the Tanglewood area just east of Highway 89 and south of Adams Canyon.
“I left then,” Hill said. “I didn’t want to take the chance.”
Personnel from South Davis Metro Fire, Layton Fire, Utah Highway Patrol, Davis County Sheriff’s Office and others were on scene throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
Reporters Jacob Scholl and Tim Vandenack contributed to this story.