Fireworks spark wildfire near Rock Canyon, witness says
PROVO -- Emily Covey was playing with her son just above Rock Canyon Park on Friday when she heard a pop. Covey said she immediately looked at the nearby mountain and saw two teenage boys running away. Seconds later, 15-foot flames leapt into the air.
"It was really scary," Covey said. "I was just shaking and I had my 2-year-old son and I was trying to keep him close by and I was trying to talk to the operator."
Covey added that she called 911 and police arrived just in time to catch the two boys.
Fire officials confirmed Friday night that blaze was started at 4:04 p.m. by two juveniles playing with fireworks. The fire burned up to 50 acres on the rugged cliffs of Squaw Peak Mountain near Rock Canyon Park. It was contained by early Friday night.
Fire marshal Lynn Schofield explained that the suspects were using a bottle rocket or roman candle-type explosive.
"These are kids that just didn't think," Schofield said, adding that all fireworks are illegal in Rock Canyon.
The boys' names have not been released because they are juveniles.
But despite the alleged recklessness of the suspects, Provo deputy fire chief Gary Jolley said the fight went better than expected. Low winds kept the flames moving slowly and by 9 p.m. crews from Provo, Utah County and Lone Peak had the situation under control.
"It could have been a lot worse but conditions were ideal," Jolley said. "There was no wind. We dodged a bullet today."
Jolley said no structures were threatened and no evacuations had been ordered. However, officials closed Rock Canyon and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Friday. Jolley did not know how long the trails would be closed but said that officials would barricade any prohibited areas.
According to Schofield, the juvenile suspects had been released to their parents. Officials would likely meet next week to screen the case for charges. Schofield added that a series of different misdemeanors could apply to the case. He estimated the cost of fighting the fire would be more than $100,000.
In the meantime, people in Utah County were left watching yet another plume of smoke rise above the Valley. Covey, who by 6:30 p.m. was no longer at the park but who could still see the fire, added that she couldn't believe that given the dry conditions someone still might be playing with fire.
"I was just frustrated that people haven't learned that this is a serious thing," she said.
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08-26-2012, 05:11 PM #1
Provo-Fireworks spark wildfire near Rock Canyon
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