DAVIS COUNTY — Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes after a wildfire broke out early Friday morning on the mountainside between Bountiful and Centerville.
The wildfire was spotted slightly before 1 a.m. Friday by a Bountiful Police officer and is expected to continue to burn in the mountains east of Bountiful and Centerville for several days. The blaze has been named the Gun Range Fire.
Three homes are complete losses as a result of the fire while eight others have been damaged, said Bountiful Police Lt. David Edwards.
No injuries have been reported, he said.
The residential area near the fire was quickly evacuated early Friday morning by officers from multiple agencies going door-to-door waking up residents. The evacuation zone covers the area east of 900 East, north of 400 North and south of 1600 North, Edwards said.
The evacuation order was no longer in effect for Centerville at of 10 a.m., but continues for Bountiful residents in those areas. Island View Drive is closed to all non-residents as fire operations continue in that area, and beyond to access reservoirs.
An evacuation center at Main and Center Street in Bountiful is available for those who have left their homes. An additional center that had been open at 900 S. 400 East in Centerville is now closed, according to the city’s Facebook page.
“This is an evolving situation and things can change ... we are by no means out of the woods,” said Paul Child, Centerville Police Chief. Child said there have been many heroic efforts by fire departments and police officers getting people out of their homes.
The fire is being fought on multiple flanks, according Kim Osborn, public information officer with the Northern Utah Inner Agency Type 3 team.
“Last night was defensive to protect homes. Today is offense and establishing a plan. This fire will continue for several days,” Osborn said Friday.
Friday afternoon, officials confirmed reports that the fire was human-caused, as it is believed that an abandoned campfire was to blame. The fire reportedly started near the Bountiful “B,” and police are reportedly looking for two people in a small SUV who were in the area around 1 a.m., according to a tweet from the Unita-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
High winds of 30mph drove the fire toward homes in the early morning hours but that changed later Friday morning. Osborn expects the type of vegetation and rising heat of the day to be factors in fueling the fire.
At least 200 firefighting personnel from across the state and even Idaho are currently assigned to the fire, including helicopters, hotshot teams and planes filled with fire retardant. Fire departments across the Wasatch Front, from as far north as Weber County to Salt Lake City, have responded to the fire, Edwards said.
Four more crews are expected to arrive later in the day Friday. State firefighters and the United States Forest Service are also involved in the response.
All schools in Davis School District will be open today, according to a post by the district shared on Bountiful City’s Facebook page.
The fire is estimated to cover anywhere from 150 to 300 acres, according to Osborn.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but possibly started higher up on the mountain.
Air quality in the Bountiful area is being impacted by the fire, moving into the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and getting to close the general “unhealthy” range, according to a tweet from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
“Smoke from this wildfire is causing high concentrations of particulates in a populated area. Residents with existing heart or lung conditions should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity,” the DEQ said.
The fire also caused several power outages in Bountiful, but power to all but 20 homes had been restored, according to a tweet from Bountiful City. Five poles need to be replaced, so power was expected to be out until late Friday night.
Edwards thanked the public for their concern and generosity for the families evacuated and concern for personnel responding to the fire.
“We want to thank all citizens of Bountiful for donations coming in,” Edwards said.