Crews fully contain Knolls blaze as National Weather Service issues fire watch

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Firefighters look for hotspots from the Knolls fire in Saratoga Springs near South Harrier Drive on Monday, June 29, 2020.

Seven days after it started, the Knolls Fire in Saratoga Springs is 100% contained.

Fire crews will continue to monitor hot spots from the blaze, which burned 13,000 acres and caused 13,000 people to evacuate. About 200 firefighters per day, from multiple agencies, worked to contain the flames over the past week. An evacuation warning has been lifted and city officials are now urging people to stay away from Lake Mountain.

“Even the residents whose backyards are adjacent to this fire ... please stay off the mountain,” said David Johnson, Saratoga Springs spokesperson, during a news conference broadcast by FOX 13. “The reason why it’s important is if there is a flare up in some of these hot spots they’re putting out and you’re next to one of those flare ups, that puts you in danger.”

Emergency managers are now shifting their attention to the fire’s burn scar, which presents a flood danger. The city is providing residents with sandbags to help protect properties from runoff.

“But the sandbags are just the tip of the iceberg,” Johnson said, urging residents to obtain flood insurance.

City engineers and consultants are currently working on a flood mitigation plan. The city will host a question and answer session in the coming days for property owners in the flood zone and for insurance agents. More information about the event and flood insurance will be posted on the city website and social media pages in the coming days, Johnson said.

The fire consumed one home outside city limits and 12 other homes sustained damage from the flames. The fire could have been contained more quickly if fire crews had not had to help with other blazes in Lehi, Draper and Millard County, Johnson said.

City officials believe the Knolls Fire was human-caused, although what sparked it is still under investigation.

“Please ... use fireworks only in allowed areas, stay away from restricted areas, stay away from open fields,” Johnson said. “Fires spread fast.”

Meanwhile, hot, dry and windy weather has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a fire weather watch for much of the state.

Starting Monday, visitors and residents in Utah’s West Desert should be vigilant about conditions that could lead to rapid fire spread. On Tuesday, the fire weather watch expands to most of central and southwest Utah, as well as the Uintah Basin, where the National Weather Service forecasts wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour.

“Again, whether you’re [using] fireworks, target shooting, ATVs [that] can backfire, campfires, just be smart,” Johnson said.