Thread: Utah Wildfire Activity
07-08-2003, 11:43 AM #1
Utah Wildfire Activity
Some fires contained, but others ignite
By Laura Hancock
Deseret Morning News
Crews are containing Utah's largest wildfires, but a handful of new blazes have ignited throughout the state.
Chris Brenchley, a fire weather forecaster for the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, said it's the season of "prime fire weather."
"Any fires that start rapidly take off," Brenchley said. "The fuels have been stressed by drought for the past — depending on where you are in Utah — at least the last five years. That takes the moisture out of big fuels like fir trees, aspens. To top it off, we had all that grass from the spring rains."
In the Fishlake National Forest, crews in Sevier County are fighting a new 77-acre fire south of Mount Marvine, where spruce and Douglas fir trees are providing fuel. Lightning sparked the blaze July 2.
Two "hot shot" crews experienced in technical firefighting are on scene. The fire is burning in steep and rocky terrain. Three helicopters and several ground crews also are fighting the fire. The goal is to build a firebreak near the ridge top along the west flank of the fire, according to a Forest Service statement.
The Forest Service has not closed any roads but is asking travelers to drive on tarred roads and be cautious. Pilots must keep aircraft five miles from the fire and at 15,400 feet. For clearance to fly in the area, call 435-979-2838.
In Morgan County, a 20-acre blaze briefly threatened nearby houses, but crews used bulldozers to build a firebreak. The fire started Monday, and its cause is under investigation. It was contained and controlled by Monday night, said Jim McMahill of the Bureau of Land Management.
Sparks flying from a train are believed to have started a brush fire outside of Vernon, Tooele County, Monday. The fire was contained and controlled by Monday afternoon. The fire burned one-tenth of an acre, McMahill said.
A handful of federal and local firefighting crews remain on the scene of the Apex fire, 10 miles west of St. George. It was 100 percent contained and controlled last Friday. Crews are monitoring the fire's activity and will reseed the vegetation in the area. The fire has burned 33,000 acres, according to fire officials.
Pinyon Pine-Juniper trees, sage and black brush, and a non-native grass fueled the flames. Crews also will determine ways to prevent erosion, which could be a problem in hilly areas where roots that held the soil were burned.
The Woodenshoe fire, five miles west of Blanding in the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area of the Manti-La Sal National Forest, is expected to be contained by 6 p.m. Wednesday. By Monday night, the 2,710-acre blaze was 50 percent contained, said fire information officer John Daugherty. Investigators determined it was started by an abandoned or escaped campfire, he said.
Authorities are seeking information from anyone who camped in the area from June 26-28. They ask the public to call the San Juan County Sheriff's Office at 435-587-2237.
"It was much quieter today. Crews continue to tighten up fire lines, mop up," Daugherty said Monday.
About 160 people are on scene, including three helicopters, he said.Front line since 1983 and still going strong
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