Lightning-induced fires in county threaten structures

THE DAILY HERALD on Tuesday, August 12

Justin Hill

Brush fires threatened farm structures and radio towers Monday evening as firefighters continued to battle blazes throughout Utah Valley.

For the fourth day in a row, firefighters tried to contain blazes that have been sparked by lightning strikes. A brush fire threatened some farms and their homes near the edge of Goshen Canyon. To help with structure protection, aerial support for a fire in the Tintic Mountains was diverted to the fire near Goshen Canyon.

"They're threatened for sure," said Teresa Rigby, spokeswoman for the Northern Utah Interagency Fire Center, adding that the danger was not immediate.

As of Monday night, the fire burned 500 acres. It was sparked by lightning on Sunday.

A thunderstorm on Sunday also ignited a fire on Lake Mountain northwest of Soldier's Pass, threatening radio towers on the mountain. Two helicopter crews and a water tender battled that blaze, said Ali Knutson, information officer trainee for the Bureau of Land Management. Six smoke jumpers, who parachute into the fire area to fight the flames, are scheduled to jump today, postponed Monday because of high winds. That fire burned 20 acres as of Monday night.

Meanwhile, Pinion Canyon Road was closed from State Road 68 to Highway 6 as 60 firefighters worked to extinguish a blaze that burned an estimated 1,200 acres as of Monday night, according to one report, Knutson said. She said the fire, which was started by lightning on Sunday, is expected to be contained by Aug. 18.

On Maple Mountain, three 20-person fire crews and four helicopters fought flames that had burned an estimated 145 acres as of Monday night. The air support was able to extinguish hot spots on the north side of the fire, said Loyal Clark, spokeswoman for the Uinta National Forest Service. Two of the helicopters were diverted to other fires in Utah County. Clark did not have an estimated time for containment or control.

But fire crews were able to save power lines that had been threatened earlier. Firefighters burned out an area near Crowd Canyon, where fire crews feared the blaze would threaten power lines and structures.