PANGUITCH LAKE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Jim Doyon never expected he’d have to save his own home from the largest wildfire in the country.
“The smoke was devastating. You couldn’t see my house,” said Doyon, a volunteer firefighter for Panguitch Lake.
“It would have been leveled. We could have lost everything,” he said.
When the entire town was evacuated last week, the Las Vegas native received a front row seat to the flames.
“Fire was coming around this corner, and flames, I got back on the radio and said, hey guys, my home is just starting on fire we need to get the engine up here.”
With eight volunteer firefighters by his side, Doyon fought the flames that overtook the roof.
Yet, several of his neighbors weren’t so lucky. Many homes burned to the ground in the 90 square mile blaze.
In the first positive news since the fire broke out, managers believe the fire danger has moved away from Panguitch Lake and Mammoth Creek. Property owners in that area are allowed to go home for 30 minutes at a time Thursday.
“Any hot spots, they’ve gone in and cooled them off, dug them up, that sort of thing. They were confident that they could allow people in,” Brian Head Fire Spokesperson Patty Bean.
“Here, there isn’t much more than can go anymore, everything is burnt out around me, so I’m not too concerned. I’m sleeping with both eyes closed now, instead of one open.”
The mandatory evacuation of Brian Head is expected to be lifted Friday morning.