Rough Canyon fire moves toward homes in Portage, firefighters push back

Jun 28, 2018, 10:04 PM | Updated: Jun 29, 2018, 1:18 am

PORTAGE, Utah – The Rough Canyon fire, just west of Portage, grew to over 3,100 acres Thursday, and remains about five percent contained. While the fire remained a good distance from town, it came close to two homes to the west.

Sheila Huggins

“I wasn’t really worried about it until it was on the other side of the hill,” homeowner Sheila Huggins said. “It’s about a tenth of a mile right now, and I could pop over (Thursday morning) and see flames over 30, 40, 50 feet high.”

A helicopter makes water drops, near the Huggins home.

Thursday afternoon, a helicopter and large plane dropped water and retardant several times on the hill just above the Huggins home. By early evening, crews had gotten the flames down in that area, but continued to battle winds and hot, dry conditions elsewhere.

Spencer Newman

“Makes it pretty difficult for these guys to get a handle on it,” Box Elder County Fire Warden Spencer Newman said. “We’re in red flag conditions right now, and we’ve had a very strong southwest wind that’s pushing the fire toward this canyon where we’re trying to hold it.”

Firefighters mark an area for a nearby helicopter to drop water, just outside Portage.

Huggins says she’s grateful for the firefighters who stood by to defend her home.

“Couldn’t be more happy with them,” she said. “They’re keeping us informed here, and they’re with us. They’re doing a great job.”

A view of the Rough Canyon Fire from Portage.

More than 140 firefighters, including four planes and two helicopters battled the fire. No structures had burned as of Thursday night. Even though no evacuations had been ordered, Huggins says she and her husband are ready to go if they need to.

“We’re just waiting,” Huggins said. “If we have to evacuate, I’ve got my birds and my dogs packed up, and we’re just getting the trailer ready to go.”

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Rough Canyon fire moves toward homes in Portage, firefighters push back