SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah (ABC4 News) – The city of Saratoga Springs is under a local emergency after approximately 13,000 people were evacuated from their homes due to the Knolls Fire burning on Lake Mountain.
The wind is causing major problems for the 200 firefighters fighting it on the ground. Around 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, crews had to shut down air operations as they dealt with nearly 60 mile-per-hour winds.
“Aircraft is a big part of the puzzle,” said Jason Curry, Utah Division of Forestry Spokesman. “Without them, it does limit what we can do. With gusts like that the fire behavior is extreme. The fire spread is really, really fast.”
As of Sunday night, flames have scorched approximately 2,000 acres after breaking out around one o’clock in the afternoon.
“The Mountain here is called Lake Mountain,” said Curry. “The fire originated along the shore of Utah Lake called The Knolls. That’s probably about six to eight miles from here.”
Just a few hours later, mass evacuations we’re underway from multiple neighborhoods including the Lake Mountain Estates and Pelican Bay.
“With the fire, we’ve had to evacuate about 3,100 homes which is equal to about 13,000 residents,” said David Johnson, Saratoga Springs Spokesperson.
Holly Johnson is one of those residents who evacuated to a shelter set up by the Red Cross at Westlake High School. She said she isn’t sure when she’ll be able to go home.
“It’s just kind of is surreal,” said Johnson who lives in Lake Mountain Estates. “It just seems like it’s moving quick. I believe it went behind our house because we have a doorbell cam, and we’ve been watching that live feed and we’ve seen a ton of activity with fire trucks in front, and we’ve seen several of them out with shovels.”
Law enforcement is patrolling evacuated areas to make sure no one tries to enter them.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.