MOAB — A fire that destroyed eight homes in Moab no longer poses a threat to houses, authorities say, but evacuation orders remain in effect for the area.
Crews have fully contained the blaze that began about 5:50 p.m. Tuesday as a brush fire along Pack Creek, near an apartment complex, said Moab Fire Chief Phillip Mosher. It spread rapidly, destroying an estimated 11 structures before crews contained it about 9 p.m.
The teams from several agencies worked overnight, he said, and firefighters continued to battle hot spots early Wednesday morning.
Despite the progress, evacuations early Wednesday remained in place for roughly 150 people.
Investigators don’t yet know what sparked the blaze. Five firefighters and several residents were treated for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion, but no serious injuries were reported. A massive plume of smoke could be seen rising above the resort town at dusk Tuesday.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox was expected arrive in Moab early Wednesday afternoon to survey the damage and speak with city leaders and residents. Charred siding, ash-covered cars and smoldering debris could be seen in the neighborhood.
In addition to the eight homes that burned, two parking canopies and a shop also were destroyed.
According to a message on Moab Police Department’s Facebook page, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office has requested that anyone who experienced a loss of property in the fire to file a report with its office at 25 S. 100 East.
Families or individuals who have been displaced as a result of the fire are directed to the Moab Valley Fire Department, 45 S. 100 East, where representatives with the Red Cross are available to assist with short-term needs. The Moab Veterinary Clinic is offering free pet boarding for those driven from their homes by the fire.
An account has been established to accept donations to benefit those who were impacted by the fire, police noted. The account is at Grand County Credit Union. Donations should be made to Cinema Court Fire.
Grand County officials said they are taking steps to prevent additional devastation this summer. Fire restrictions currently in place will be tightened further, Sheriff Steven White said Tuesday evening.
Richard Coffinberry was among several homeowners who tried to help firefighters control the fire using garden hoses. He said that every time he managed to douse one flame, others popped up.
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News