Provo fire officials looking into five 'suspicious' fires
StoryDiscussionJanice Peterson - Daily Herald
Fire burning near Y Mountain, Tuesday, July 20, 2010. .
..Provo fire officials are looking into the cause of five fires in the "Y" mountain area that they say are suspicious.
Deputy fire chief Gary Jolley said firefighters were called to five separate fires in a span of 45 minutes. The first fire was called in at 2:04 p.m. in Slate Canyon, he said. A second fire was later called in from Rock Canyon, and two additional fires were called in from the trailhead up to the "Y," east of the Lookout Pointe Apartments.
Jolley said the fifth fire was called in at 2:49 p.m. east of Seven Peaks while crews were on the scene of the two fires at the trailhead. The fires were all put out by 3 p.m. The cause of the fires is still under investigation, but Jolley said fireworks were found near at least one fire.
"We think somebody may be intentionally setting these," Jolley said.
Until the cause can be further investigated, Jolley said the fires will be considered suspicious. Provo officials have asked residents to be on the lookout for a black SUV or pickup with the license plate number of Utah A996X6 or Utah A996XG. According to a city press release, the vehicle has been seen in the area near the fires as well as other fires in Utah County on the east benches.
"We're on the lookout for the person or persons we may want to talk to about these fires," he said.
If the fires were set intentionally, Jolley said, a person would have had to work hard to get to all the locations. Several miles were in between some locations, and a person would have had to travel on steep roads and through secured areas.
The Rock Canyon and Slate Canyon fires were smaller than 50-by-50 feet, Jolley said, and the biggest fire near the Lookout Pointe Apartments was about 300-by-300 feet. Although no structures were in danger, Jolley said homes near Seven Peaks could have been in danger if the fire continued to spread. Fires are unpredictable, he said, and the dry fuels created by hot weather helped these fires to grow faster than they would have a month ago. Homes and power lines were uphill from the fire, and the result could have been devastating if the fire traveled their way, he said.
It also could have been much worse if the fire traveled up into the mountains, where fires take a different turn and become a major operation.
Jolley said all five stations in Provo were rotated through to help with the fires, with those rotated off the fire available for other fires in the city. The Forest Service also contributed to the effort, and Orem sent an engine and a brush truck to the scene, Jolley said.
Another holiday is coming up, Jolley said, and officials want people to be able to enjoy it. He said it is imperative that when fireworks are used, it is in the right areas. Residents can determine which areas are restricted by visiting http://www.provo.org/fire.marshal.html.
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07-20-2010, 11:36 PM #1
Provo has Several Fires Break outFront line since 1983 and still going strong
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