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Crews gaining on wildfire that forced evacuations in Summit County

Published July 25, 2014 6:39 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Wanship • Vicki Peppler cannot believe it happened again.

Like last year, Peppler was driving back to her home on Crestview Drive in Summit County's Rockport Estates after an errand, when she found out that a wildfire had blocked her way on State Road 32. And like last year, her thoughts were with her three dogs, who she could not retrieve from her house yet.

"It's living the nightmare again," Peppler said at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building in Wanship, which was serving as a shelter for evacuees.

This new fire, unlike the lightning-sparked Rockport 5 Fire that destroyed eight homes last August, started in a "yurt-type structure," said Tyler Rowser, spokesman for the North Summit Fire District. By 8 p.m., the fire had been 45 percent contained and had scorched 120 acres, fire officials said.

How the fire started in the structure was still under investigation.

The Summit County Sheriff's Office reported the fire on Twitter at 3:14 p.m. Friday. Deputies went door and door and asked more than 200 residents to leave Rockport Estates, echoing the evacuation many experienced last year. Fire officials lifted the evacuation orders at 9:45 p.m.

"It's been burning down toward the southeast, so it's been burning downhill away from the Promontory subdivision," Rowser said.

The Rockport 5 Fire came within six inches of a shed near Lucy Cella and her husband Ron's cabin. This fire started nearby as well, in a yurt they say is occupied only part of the year.

At least this year, the wind seems to be blowing flames away from their home and toward the landfill, Ron Cella said.

They've talked about selling, though they love the place.

"We didn't think it could happen again," Lucy Cella said.

Besides urging people to evacuate, officials had also closed State Road 32 from Rockport Dam to Brown's Canyon Road.

In addition to firefighters from three departments, the U.S. Forest Service was also helping fight the flames. Three planes and a helicopter aided ground crews.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda