‘I don’t know what we’d do if we lost our home’: Residents still displaced by 709-acre Mammoth Fire

An aerial view of the Mammoth Fire burning through timber and grass on Cedar Mountain, Mammoth Creek Village, Utah, June 5, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service/Dixie National Forest, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Bob Donaldson owns a summer home near Mammoth Creek Village. He and his wife had only been there for two hours Saturday when they were asked to evacuate their home.

A volunteer firefighter watches the Mammoth Fire from Bob Donaldson’s home in Mammoth Creek Village, Utah, June 5th, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Bob Donaldson, for St. George News

“We weren’t even finished unloading yet,” Donaldson told Cedar City News.

Before leaving, Donaldson and his wife took some of the pictures off the walls of their Bucky Dome, a geodesic dome home, originally designed by Buckminster Fuller. All Donaldson saw, he said, was a wisp of smoke to the west. Still, he decided it would be best to go.

As of Tuesday morning, the Mammoth Fire, which officials have since attributed to lightning, has grown to 709 acres and is still being listed as 0% contained. However, a detail that may give Donaldson and other residents who were evacuated some measure of comfort is that the fire is about 1 mile south of the village and is moving farther south, according to the InciWeb incident page for the fire.

There are currently 240 firefighters working to keep the blaze away from the village, according to the InciWeb update. They’ve built a line around the village perimeter to try and keep the flames away from structures. They’ve also used helicopters to drop buckets of water on scattered hotspots within the fire.

A screenshot from the Mammoth Creek Village Home Owner’s Association’s Facebook page, June 8, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Facebook, St. George News

However, they will be working against nature. Red flag conditions, which include warm temperatures, low humidity and wind gusts in excess of 30 mph, are expected in the area through Wednesday night.

Despite the current movement of the fire, those weather conditions coupled with the present drought have Donaldson concerned.

“A creek runs right past our cabin,” he said. “I’ve never seen it this low.”

Donaldson said that he bought the land in 1971. He paid $16,000 for the dome kit and another $60,000 for the land and drilling for a well. After 26 years of building, he’d built the dome with additions, a bunkhouse and other structures.

“It would cost in excess of $300,000 to rebuild,” he said. “I don’t know what we’d do if we lost our home to this fire. We don’t even have enough insurance to cover the loss, if it came to that.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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