07-15-2003, 03:10 PM #1
Utah-new Fire Destroys 6 Structures
Fire destroys summer residences
HUNTSVILLE, Utah — A fire that authorities say may have been started by sparks from a backhoe has destroyed at least six summer residences east of Huntsville near the Causey Reservoir.
The blaze, dubbed the Evergreen fire, started about 2 p.m. Monday on private land in the Evergreen development and had spread to 350 to 500 acres by early today, said Kathy Jo Pollock, Wasatch-Cache National Forest spokeswoman.
A voluntary evacuation was suggested for the Sourdough, Evergreen and Beaver Creek developments, which contain several hundred summer and year-round residences.
Pollock said that from the air it appeared six or seven residences — cabins or trailers — had been destroyed and a fire-engine crew reported another had been damaged.
The fire was about 20 percent contained, she said. Further containment, however, was expected to be difficult amid today's expected triple-digit temperatures and higher winds, officials said.
Some residents reported that the fire started when a backhoe struck a rock, causing sparks that ignited dry grass.
Pollock said Utah Power & Light cut power to the three areas so the fire burning underneath lines would not cause arcing.
About 90 firefighters, aided by five helicopters, two air tankers and five engines, were battling the fire, and Pollock said another four crews — 80 firefighters — were expected later today.
Three of the helicopters were diverted to the Evergreen fire from the Farmington Canyon fire, which grew to 1,935 acres on Monday, but was 70 percent contained.
Fire information officer Steve Segin said 297 personnel were assigned to that blaze.
The Farmington fire was started Thursday. A homeless man, Joseph Heinz Bruhl, 33, told law enforcement officers he started the fire because he wanted to go to jail. He was charged Friday with causing a catastrophe.
Fire restrictions will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday in Davis County and the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team said today. The restrictions prohibit the use of open fires or camp fires, except in developed recreation sites.
The Standard-Examiner in Ogden quoted a relative of Bruhl's, whom the paper did not name, as saying he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Bruhl, who attended Ogden High School, had been staying at John Taylor House, a boarding home for men in Salt Lake City, for two weeks before the fire. He reportedly had been asked to leave because he refused to take his medications and became belligerent.
Elsewhere, the 126-acre Jacob Ranch west of Utah Lake was controlled Monday. The fire was believed caused by target shooting.
Firefighters also continued to battle the 18,606-acre Bulldog fire in the Henry Mountains in southern Utah, which officials say was likely started by an all-terrain vehicle that had been driven off-road. A teenager was being investigated, said Susan Marzec, a Bureau of Land Management fire information officer.
In another development, the total cost of the Apex fire, the state's largest this season at 30,000 acres, has been estimated at $2.2 million so far. Rehabilitation costs could add another $1 million, said David Boyd, fire information officer. That fire, in southwestern Utah, was started by two teenagers playing with matches.
No decision has been made on charges, said Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap.Front line since 1983 and still going strong
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