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  1. #1
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    Default Utah-Vegetation 2007 Starts

    BRUSH FIRES -- Sparks from a train traveling through Orem on Sunday afternoon set off a series of small dry grass fires along the railroad tracks.

    Lt. Gary Giles of the Orem Fire Division said Orem firefighters were called out at 3:17 p.m. on Sunday to two areas along the tracks where sparks from the train's wheels contacting the track ignited small brush fires.

    "No structures in Orem were threatened, but they could have been," he said. "The fire department got set up quickly and got it knocked down."

    A Springville dispatcher said the Springville Fire Department also responded to a track-side blaze near 400 West and Center Street that was in the vicinity of some homes early Sunday evening. That fire was quickly extinguished by firefighters and no damage was reported, she said.

    "There's lots of dry grass by the railroad tracks, and the sparks come off and a little bit of breeze like we had today ... the conditions were perfect," Giles said.
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    Default Ogden Vegetation Fire

    Ogden Foothills Burned by Grass Fire
    June 5th, 2007 @ 6:02pm
    Read it in Spanish

    Gene Kennedy Reporting

    Firefighters have contained a grass fire burning in the hills above Ogden today. Witnesses first noticed the smoke around 6 a.m.

    The blaze has scorched about 15 acres in a small canyon above 21st Street. The wind is kicking up the smoke and blowing it up the mountain so it isn't threatening any homes. One viewer told us they could see the smoke from Harrisville.

    Sixty firefighters from several departments have been battling the blaze and have dug fire lines to keep flames from spreading. They're still watching to make sure hot spots don't flare up. Firefighters expect to get the fire under control by 10:00 a.m.

    Investigators believe the wildfire was started by an abandoned camp fire.
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 12-02-2007 at 09:03 PM.
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    Default 10,000 Acre Wildfire Starts in Tooele

    Tooele Widlfire Burns 10,000 Acres
    June 5th, 2007 @ 6:51pm
    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Fire officials say a fast-moving Tooele County grass fire has burned more than 10 miles of vegetation since it started this afternoon.

    The Quincy Fire has burned so close to Interstate 80 that the Tooele County sheriff's office has closed the highway's Aragonite exit until further notice.

    Officials say the cause of the fire, which was reported about 1 p.m., is under investigation. About 10,000 acres have burned.

    More than 50 fire personnel from multiple agencies are fighting fire. The Bureau of Land Management is also assisting from the air.

    No homes or other structures have been threatened.
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    Default Saratoga Springs Fire-Evacuations

    A grass fire fanned by high winds forced the evacuation of 25 homes on Tuesday night in Saratoga Springs.

    Lake Mountain Estates resident Jessica Battas rushed home from work after her husband called her and grabbed diapers and clothes. They and their children went to the local church that was opened for the families at 10:30 p.m.

    "It was just kind of scary," she said. "But they were really good about getting us out."

    Saratoga Springs Fire Chief Mike Penovich said the high winds that picked up late Tuesday night at about the same time the fire started didn't help.

    "It just pushes it," he said. "It's like it has got its own motor and is driving down the road."

    Kevin Cortez, Utah County's assistant fire warden, estimated that 150 to 200 acres burned.

    Penovich called the evacuations a plan B, "to make sure if it did get out of control, we were prepared for it," he said.

    The Battas family lives on Cassie Way, one of the roads evacuated. The second was Montego Drive. Most of the residents of both roads could see flames from their backyards.

    A high wind watch was issued by the National Weather Service for Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. But when noon hit and winds didn't start, those who had cautiously secured patio equipment and prepared for the worst breathed a sigh of relief.

    But the winds did hit about 9 p.m. -- when the fire began -- and rushed the fire across the Pelican Point area, west of State Road 68. The fire's cause is still under investigation.

    If only the fire had started later. Rain was not too far away, as residents of Utah County discovered Wednesday, when they experienced a 32-degree difference between Wednesday's temperatures and Tuesday's warm weather at 3 p.m.

    Cortez said the weather shift aided firefighters as they finished extinguishing the fire.

    "The weather was against us the whole night until right up until about 2 a.m.," he said. "Then we got a shift in the wind, and the temperatures dropped 15 degrees and the cold front came in."

    An incoming cold front brings winds and the cold air behind it causes the rain, National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Young said.

    Provo received 0.32 inches of rain on Wednesday. Young said it isn't an unexpected amount for this time of year, and the weather system will continue to move through the area until the weekend.

    "The next few days we'll be drying out and warming up, but tomorrow [Thursday] will be a little unsettled," he said.

    The fire worried Penovich. His fire district oversees a lot of open area full of June grass ready to burn. This was the second fire in the Pelican Point area this year.

    "It's going to be a really bad season, so people really need to be aware," he said.
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    Default 600 Acre Fire in Grand County

    600-acre fire threatens a Grand County home

    THOMPSON SPRINGS, Grand County — A wildfire charred about a square mile of cheat grass and juniper about 60 miles east of town Sunday afternoon, officials said.
    The 600-acre fire burned within 100 meters of a home but did not threaten any other structures, said Forestry, Fire and State Lands Area Manager Bill Zanotti.
    The fire burned throughout the afternoon Sunday, Zanotti said. By evening, it had mostly died out. It was fully controlled by Monday.
    The cause of the blaze, which burned about a mile from I-70, is under investigation
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    Default Orem Grass Fire

    Grass fire backs up I-15 traffic in Orem

    OREM — A grass fire broke out Wednesday evening near mile marker 274 on Interstate 15.
    Department of Public Safety officials closed the right lane of northbound traffic while firefighters worked to douse the flames.
    Traffic was backed up to the University Parkway exit in Orem for more than an hour.
    The fire burned about two acres of long grass, but officials did not know the cause of the fire.
    Preston Raven, public information officer for the DPS, suspected a hot piece of metal from a passing vehicle or perhaps a tossed cigarette triggered the fire.
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    Default Cedar Fort Area Fire Causes Evacuations

    People Forced to Evacuate as a Fire Burns Out of Control near Cedar Fort
    June 16th, 2007 @ 10:00pm
    Whit Johnson Reporting

    A wildfire in Utah County is getting some help from Mother Nature as it continues to burn out of control. But hot, dry winds are overpowering their resources, and people have been evacuated from the area.

    The fire is in Utah County, north of S.R. 73, near Cedar Fort. The big concern right now is the dangerous combination of very dry vegetation, high temperatures and winds.

    It's a wall of fire with flames 100 feet high and billowing smoke that could be scene for miles. Jim Springer with the Department of Natural Resources says, "It's extremely hazardous situation there because of the strong erratic winds, so it puts firefighters in a lot of danger.



    Crews are calling it the Four Mile Fire. It started just before noon today. The flames spread quickly, moving in three different directions in Utah County. Lt. Darren Gilbert of the Utah County Sheriff's Office says, "You always worry that somebody is up there or is caught up there. The high winds and the rapid pace that this fire is moving, we have concerns about structures and civilians."

    The area is a mix of state and private land. Cabins, campers, and mobile homes were evacuated up West Canyon. "It doesn't take very much but a spark to ignite a fire that can grow and cost millions of dollars," Gilbert said.



    The Utah County Sheriff's Office says the fire was set accidentally by children playing with homemade model rockets. Gilbert said, "Right now, it's under investigation. We have made contact with them. Initially, they were part of the reporting party that actually contacted the Sheriff's office and informed us of the fire."

    Hundreds of acres have been burned. Despite the efforts of eight agencies, airplanes and helicopters, crews say the fire is far from being out.

    Fire officials say the fire danger is very high right now. They say you should stay away from fireworks and use extra caution when it comes to camp fires.
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 12-02-2007 at 09:03 PM.
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    Default Cedar Fort Fire Contained

    WILDFIRE CONTAINED -- A wildfire that started Saturday north of Cedar Fort was contained as of Tuesday afternoon, Fire Warden Delbert Jay said.

    "It's not going to get any bigger. We hope," Jay said.

    The fire engulfed 1,985 acres. Jay said there was one crew and one engine still fighting the fire. The fire didn't threaten any structures.

    Jay warned people to be careful this weekend when the weather gets hot again.

    "Fires are easy to start and hard to control in those conditions, Jay said.

    BRUSH FIRE -- A brush fire burned as many as 100 acres near Sandy Beach in Spanish Fork, according to Jay.
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    Default 2 New Utah County Fires Start

    Firefighters work to extinguish flames
    Two fires broke out in Utah County on Sunday, leaving hundreds of acres scorched.

    A fire burned at least 1,000 acres on Lake Mountain, sending clouds of smoke wafting over Utah Lake during the day.

    According to the Utah County Sheriff's Department, the fire started in Israel Canyon around 3 a.m. and spread to Mercer Canyon. The fire is thought to be human caused, but fire officials are still investigating it.

    The fire was being fought from the air with six aircrafts. The Northern Utah Fire Agency and Saratoga Springs Fire Department responded to the blaze, with NUFA using a helicopter to help put out the flames.

    No homes were in danger, but communication towers were threatened by the flames.

    A separate fire also burned at least 100 acres in the Covered Bridge area of Utah County on Sunday.
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 12-02-2007 at 09:02 PM.
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    Default Provo Fire Threatens Homes

    Smoke filled the sky over northeast Provo Thursday after sparks thrown from a lawn mower blade ignited dry grass. The blaze threatened a few structures, and in one case quick-acting neighbors probably saved a home.

    Sparks from a lawn mower touched off a wildfire Thursday afternoon in the foothills beneath Squaw Peak Road.

    More than 80 firefighters, three planes and two helicopters worked to contain the blaze, which threatened at least two homes, a cemetery and a communications tower near 4800 North and Canyon Road.

    Tall, dry grass and temperatures that topped out near 100 degrees facilitated the blaze's spread.

    At least five agencies responded, including Provo, Utah County, Springville, Lone Peak and the U.S. Forest Service.

    The U.S. Forest Service evacuated the Hope campground and kept people off Squaw Peak Road, which runs above the fire area. No homes or residential areas were evacuated, according to Forest Service and Provo Fire Department officials.

    Dave Palazzolo of the Forest Service said fire crews would likely be working on the blaze into Friday. Some agencies pulled resources from the Mercer Canyon fire on the west side of Utah Lake, which crews have been tending to since Sunday.

    "On a day as hot as this, it might not even go all the way out," Palazzolo said.

    The fire was not contained as of Thursday night. Palazzolo said 200 to 300 acres burned, and that he hoped the cooler weather at night would help slow the flames.

    Provo Fire Battalion Chief Gary Jolley said crews were working to keep the fire from spreading through ravines in the area.

    A man named Aaron Johnson told the Daily Herald that he was mowing grass in the area and saw sparks, then flames. The lawn mower blade might have struck a rock, he said.

    Palazzolo confirmed the fire's origin.

    "Everything points to it was the lawn mower that hit the rock that started it," he said.

    A local landowner allowed fire crews to use two water sources on his property, and helicopters dumped thousands of gallons of water on the flames.

    Planes flew repeatedly over the fire releasing loads of flame retardant.

    One house on the east side of Canyon Road may have been saved by quick action from neighbors.

    Coleman McVea said he was driving home along Center Street in Orem when he saw the smoke coming from near his home. When he arrived, he saw that the flames were nearing his neighbor's home.

    When he got to the neighbor's house, a handful of people were already working to stop the fire, which had reached three sides of a fence surrounding the property.

    "With the 10 of us with one garden hose and a whole bunch of shovels I think we saved the barn and possibly her house," McVea said. "We had to get the horses out of her field."

    McVea said residents are used to fires in the area.

    "We get a good fire on this hill about every other year," he said, pointing to a nearby hill that had been about half consumed by flames.
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 12-02-2007 at 09:02 PM.
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    Default Utah County Imposes Restrictions

    SHOOTING RESTRICTION -- Discharging a firearm in the unincorporated area of Utah County is prohibited until dry weather conditions improve, the Utah County Fire Marshal's office declared Friday.

    "The recent pattern of hot daytime temperatures, high winds and dry fuel conditions have increased the probability of a wildland fire exponentially," the declaration states.

    Firearms are the suspected cause of several fires in areas of Utah County, the declaration states.

    According to the fire marshal's statement: "Fires are not uncommon at 'make-shift' shooting areas or unauthorized shooting areas. To date, two large fires have started as a result of firearms shooting activities in the unincorporated Utah County area.

    "A fire can start as a result of sparks when a bullet ricochets off of rock or other debris. This type of fire can spread very rapidly and endanger not only our environment, but our communities, and the lives of county citizens and responding firefighter personnel as well."
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    Default Duchesne Wildfire Turns Deadly. 2 Killed

    2 reported killed in Duchesne County wildfire

    Officials evacuate campgrounds and Indian community

    By Geoff Liesik and Lacey McMurry
    For the Deseret Morning News
    NEOLA, Duchesne County — More than 80 firefighters, backed by air tankers and helicopters, were battling a wildfire that had burned an estimated 2,000 acres north of here by late Friday and is believed to have killed two residents.
    Lacey McMurry, Uintah Basin StandardA cloud of smoke drifts over fire crews Friday morning as they prepare to battle the Neola North Fire in Duchesne County. The fire had burned an estimated 2,000 acres late Friday forcing the evacuation of a campground and an Indian community. Fire managers evacuated the community of Whiterocks on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation but officials reported that some residents refused to leave. Authorities late Friday refused to confirm the two reported fatalities but emergency personnel radio traffic indicated two residents had died in the blaze.
    Other motorists were seen driving toward the fire, though Utah Highway Patrol troopers stationed on nearby roads advised against it.
    Uintah Basin Interagency Fire Center manager Cheryl Nelsen said the blaze, dubbed the Neola North Fire, started shortly after 9 a.m. Friday on land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Nelsen said the cause of the fire was unknown. Fire bosses put in orders for additional air and ground crews, which were expected to begin arriving today.
    Nelsen said no homes were in the direct path of the fire, but a hydroelectric power station and an unoccupied Girl Scout camp could be threatened. Officials evacuated campgrounds in Uintah Canyon, a popular recreation destination, after the blaze jumped state Road 121.
    "Our main concern has been some camp trailers up in the canyon," said Bureau of Indian Affairs police officer Jay Mountainlion, who was manning a roadblock south of the fire. "We've been working hard on getting everyone out of there and getting the roads completely shut off."
    Several people who were evacuated from the area said the camp-ground was full because of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
    Denise Fillingim and her daughter were stopped at the roadblock Friday as they tried to return from Roosevelt to their campsite. The family had pulled a new camp trailer up to a Uintah Canyon campground Thursday night and planned on staying there for 10 days. On Friday morning, they went to Roosevelt before the fire started to get more blankets and food. They noticed the smoke on their way back.
    "I didn't want to go camping this weekend because it's been so dry," Denise Fillingim said. "I'm just praying we don't lose our truck and trailer."
    Kayla Thomas of Salt Lake City was stopped at the roadblock on her way up the canyon to a family reunion. Her family had rented an entire campground for the reunion, which was to have lasted until Tuesday, and most of the family members were already up the canyon.
    "I was so excited to just be able to lie in my hammock and relax," Thomas said. "I guess that isn't going to happen."
    • In Utah County, two wildfires near Saratoga Springs were expected to merge into one. What used to be the 5,200-acre Mercer Canyon fire and the Moffida fire have been renamed the M&M complex.
    The PG fire on Provo's east bench near Provo Canyon was expected to be contained by late Friday. The fire was burning two miles away from Springdell, a small community in Provo Canyon, but was not immediately threatening any homes.
    All three Utah County fires were human-caused.
    "The majority of our fires have been human-caused and that's why the restrictions went in," said Dan Washington of the Bureau of Land Management. "But since the restrictions we've still had as many or more fires than we had before the restrictions."
    Fireworks, open fires in all but approved fire pits in improved campgrounds and picnic areas, and outdoor smoking except in developed recreation sites have been banned on all lands west of I-15 throughout Utah and in all of Washington County since June 25.
    Public carelessness is the main concern of firefighters and officials as they look toward the Fourth of July holiday. With the high temperatures, strong winds and bone-dry cheat grass — the main fuel source of fires — a stray sparkler or wayward firework could ignite an entire mountainside
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 12-02-2007 at 09:02 PM.
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    Default Death toll rises to 3 in Utah Fire

    Three Die In Utah Wildfire
    June 30th, 2007 @ 2:06pm
    (KSL News) Three men who were working in a hay field died when they were overcome by a wildfire burning in eastern Utah.

    The men were working in the field Friday afternoon when they were caught by the fire, said Louis Haynes, a spokesman for the Uintah Basin Interagency Fire Center.

    The fire started north of Neola, about 100 miles east of Salt Lake City, on Friday morning and had burned more than 14 square miles by the end of the day. At least two communities were evacuated.

    Extremely dry conditions and strong wind fueled the fire, which had reached the southern edge of Ashley National Forest and was consuming brush, juniper and pine. The cause was still unknown Saturday as crews tried to contain the fire.

    A specialized team of about 60 firefighters had been called in and was expected to take over fighting the blaze later Saturday. "It looks like we have pretty good plume coming up," Haynes said. "We're going to continue to see that as we move into the burning period of the day."

    Conditions for wildfires to spread rapidly are high throughout the state because of a dry spring and very dry early summer. Once a fire starts, it spreads very quickly across the parched mountain valleys.

    Governor Jon Huntsman is getting a tour of the area, and seeing the devastation firsthand. He hasn't said if he will declare the area a disaster area.
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    Default Summit County Fire

    Wildfire is doused in Samak
    Volunteer firefighters credited for quick response
    Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff


    Samak residents praised the work of wildland firefighters on Wednesday who helped douse a blaze that torched four acres in the foothills of the Uinta Mountains. No structures were threatened and nobody was injured battling the fire.
    "That's what we train for and why we work together," Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer said.

    Firefighters were on scene until 11 p.m. June 27 after the fire broke out earlier that evening burning mostly grass and oak brush.

    "We went back in today and worked it a little more and it's out," said Boyer in a telephone interview Thursday. "There were no losses."

    Boyer was in command as volunteers from the South Summit Fire District fought the blaze.

    "It's a breed of their own The key is proper response and people ready and willing to do their job," South Summit Fire Capt. Tory Llewelyn said about his crew that isn't paid "a dime." "It's something that you're not really born into. It's something that you learn to take to heart to bring your heart back to the community."

    Accessing the head of the fire on Wednesday was difficult because the blaze burned in steep terrain, Llewelyn said.

    "The point of origin on the fire was easy to access, but the head of the fire was in some steep terrain, rough, rocky terrain," he added.

    A quick response was key to controlling the fire because erratic winds in the canyon made the blaze unpredictable, Llewelyn said.

    The fire reportedly started near the Mirror Lake Highway on lot No. 32 in Samak Acres, which is about four miles east of Main Street in Kamas.

    "A gentleman was burning a brush pile and it got away," said Boyer, who added that U.S. Forest Service firefighters helped control the blaze. "It is allowed, but burn permits are required. He didn't have a burn permit and he had not notified the Summit County dispatch the he was going to do a burn."

    Several fire engines and a water tender were used to fight the fire.

    A helicopter pilot was released from the scene to cut down suppression costs, for which the man who allegedly started the fire could be held liable, Boyer explained.

    "At times it was intense," Llewelyn said. "It can be a challenge creating safety zones and keeping the guys safe."

    On Friday, Boyer was still tallying the cost for fighting the fire in Samak.

    Meanwhile, Llewelyn insists volunteer firefighters in South Summit train often to fight wildfires.

    "You look at the South Summit Fire District and you look at the residential compared to open space, the open space and wildland space outweighs the residential by probably five to one," the fire captain said.

    To protect homes from wildfire all combustible material, including vegetation, should be cleared at least 30 feet from the house. Trim tree limbs that touch the house or deck, or are within 10 feet of the chimney.

    Keep roofs and gutters clear of leaves and debris and safely store flammable materials, including oily rags.
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    Default Killer Fire Still Raging

    Killer Utah fire still raging

    By Geoff Liesik
    For the Deseret Morning News
    NEOLA, Duchesne County — Federal disaster officials are expected to be on the scene today of the deadly North Neola Fire, which killed three men. Late Saturday, fire officials said they could not forecast when the eastern Utah wildfire might be contained.
    Geoff Liesik, Uintah Basin StandardA burned-out van sits in front of the remains of a home in Uintah County. The fire flares in the rear. Officials on Saturday released the names of the men who were killed in the blaze, which has consumed more than 20,000 acres between Neola and Whiterocks and destroyed at least a half-dozen homes.
    Uintah County Sheriff Jeff Merrell said 63-year-old George Houston and his son, 43-year-old Tracy Houston, died Friday night when the fire caught them in a hay field in the Farm Creek area north of Whiterocks.
    Tracy Houston's 11-year-old son escaped the flames after he was told by his father to run to the road, Merrell said. The boy led firefighters and law enforcement back to the scene of the deaths. He was taken to Uintah Basin Medical Center, where he was treated and released.
    A third man, from whom the Houstons were buying hay, also died, the sheriff said. Roger Roberson, 75, suffered extensive burns and was taken to UBMC before being airlifted to a Wasatch Front hospital. He died of his injuries during the night.
    The three men were attempting to hook up a sprinkler system to protect Roberson's farm, Merrell said.
    The Farm Creek and Elkhorn Loop areas have been devastated by the fire, which started Friday about 9 a.m. alongside state Route 121 near Neola on land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    The BIA ordered evacuations of both areas, and the neighboring community of Whiterocks, after the wind shifted late Friday and began driving the fire into bone-dry stands of pinion-juniper and sagebrush.
    Merrell said the evacuations were under way when the Houstons and Roberson were killed.
    "A fire wall came over that hill," the sheriff said, pointing to an area west of the field where the men died. "The officers who were here said it just started sucking up all the air."
    Whiterocks resident Edson Gardner witnessed the explosive nature of the fire as it came down the hill toward the hay field.
    "It was like a herd of horses coming down the hill," Gardner said.
    The evacuations displaced about 500 people, who are being housed at the Ute Indian Tribe's auditorium in Fort Duchesne and at Union High School in Roosevelt. Deputies from Uintah and Duchesne counties were working with search and rescue teams Saturday to conduct a house-to-house check for people who chose to stay behind, even as dry air began to breathe life back into the fire.
    Weather was expected to play a major role in combating the blaze. The forecast for the next two days calls for temperatures in the high 90s, with no humidity and with shifting winds in the early evenings.
    At a briefing Saturday morning at Neola Elementary School, fire crews were warned to remain aware of their surroundings, stay hydrated and to respond to what the fire does rather than what they expect it to do.
    "It was alive yesterday, and it could very well do that again," Ute Indian Tribe Fire Management Officer Kirby Arrive told the assembled firefighters and support staff, referring to the extreme fire behavior witnessed Friday. "We've got a long day ahead of us."
    Lucus Santio, the Type III incident commander with the Ashley National Forest who has been in charge of the North Neola Fire, said a specialized wildland fire team is converging on the Uinta Basin from across the Rocky Mountain region.
    Santio and others were briefing members of the new team Saturday afternoon, a meeting attended by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. The governor said he does not intend to have the state assume control of fighting the fire.
    Deseret Morning News Graphic "We will leave this in the hands of the professionals," Huntsman told the group.
    The governor has requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is expected to be on the scene today.
    The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Public safety officials had said the blaze was started by a problem with a power line or transformer, but Moon Lake Electric Association CEO Grant Earl said utility workers have found nothing to support that claim.
    "We don't see any evidence of a power line malfunction or a downed line," Earl said.
    He noted there are no transformers in the area where the fire started.
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 12-02-2007 at 09:02 PM.
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    Post CNN Reports on Utah killer

    NEOLA, Utah (AP) -- A fast-moving wildfire burning in eastern Utah killed three men who were working in a hay field, authorities said.

    A 63-year-old man and his 43-year-old son were working in the field Friday afternoon when they were caught by the fire and died at the scene, said Louis Haynes, a spokesman for the Uintah Basin Interagency Fire Center.

    A 75-year-old man injured in the fire died overnight, Uintah County Sheriff Jeff Merrell said Saturday. An 11-year-old boy who was with the men survived.

    "A fire wall came over that hill," Merrell told the Deseret Morning News. "The officers who were here said it just started sucking up all the air."

    The newspaper reported the boy was treated and released from a hospital.

    The fire started north of Neola, about 100 miles east of Salt Lake City, on Friday morning. By Saturday afternoon, about 23 square miles, including part of Ashley National Forest in the northeastern corner of the state, had been consumed.

    Gov. Jon Huntsman requested aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after being flown over the area.
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    Default Fire Update

    30,500 acres burned

    Did tribal member stop 2 from putting out blaze in early stages?

    By Pat Reavy
    Deseret Morning News
    NEOLA, Duchesne County — As an estimated 400 firefighters continued to battle a raging wildfire outside of the small community of White Rocks that killed at least three people, both state and federal investigators continued their probe Sunday into what sparked the inferno.
    Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning NewsAn air tanker drops retardant Sunday on the Neola North Fire. About 100 members of the Utah National Guard have been called up to provide support in threatened areas. The Neola North Fire had burned 30,500 acres as of noon Sunday. That number is expected to grow after fire officials receive additional information scheduled to be released today.
    Only 5 percent of the fire was contained as of late Sunday afternoon, but Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Commander Kim Martin said "excellent progress" was made on the fire's south and east flanks Sunday.
    Eight helicopters, four heavy air tankers and two single-engine air tankers were used Sunday to fight the blaze, which by Sunday afternoon was stretching into the Ashley National Forest, sending up clouds of black smoke as it burned fir trees and other beetle-infested dead timber. About 100 members of the Utah National Guard were called up late Sunday by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to provide support to law enforcement at selected road-closure checkpoints and campground evacuation sites in threatened areas.
    Ground crews were expected to work through the night Sunday setting up a containment line.
    Martin would not answer questions Sunday afternoon regarding what sparked the fire, only to say it was "still under investigation."
    Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning NewsDuane Houston survived the Neola blaze by following his father's orders to run. His father and grandfather died in the fire. The fire started about 9:30 a.m. Friday approximately four miles north of Neola on public Ute tribal lands. The fire, according to witnesses, started at the base of a power pole. Originally, there were reports a downed line may have sparked the blaze, but Moon Lake Electric Association said Saturday they had no reports of a malfunctioning line.
    Jeremiah Warren was working at a welding shop about a mile away when the fire started. He said he and a friend rushed toward it when it was only a quarter of an acre or less. Warren said he and his friend offered to use bulldozers from their business to help put the fire out. Pictures taken by Warren show the fire in its initial stages, and it appeared to be manageable.
    But Warren said he was stopped by a tribal member who apparently thought the fire would burn itself out.
    "He pretty much shut us down," he said.
    As Warren was driving away from the fire, he passed a fire truck about five minutes later. But by that time it was too late.
    "I feel a little guilty about it ... could have stopped it and saved some lives," he said.
    That rapidly moving fire claimed the lives of George Houston, 63; his son, 43-year-old Tracy Houston; and 75-year-old Roger Roberson. Tracy's son, 11-year-old Duane, survived the fire by running through thick smoke and by jumping two fences, including a barbed-wire fence, before a firefighter found him.
    Tracy HoustonGeorge Houston Sunday, members of the Houston family were escorted by Uintah County and fire officials to the area where the tragedy occurred for the first time so they could get a sense of what happened.
    Before they left, Margie Houston, George's widow; JaLynn Houston, Tracy Houston's widow; and Duane shared memories with the Deseret Morning News of their loved ones, and recounted what happened that day.
    Duane Houston said they had already purchased the hay and had actually started to drive back when they noticed Roberson trying to move his sprinkler system to prepare for what then looked like a manageable fire. The two men and young boy got out of their truck and went to help, but a sudden burst of wind made the fire explode over the hillside and pushed it straight toward them.
    The wind was blowing hay into Duane's face so hard he could barely see, he said. As the fire got closer, his father told him to run toward the truck. Duane, however, became disoriented in the thick smoke and blowing hay and ran right past the truck but kept running "as fast as I could go," until he knew he was safe.
    "It felt like a mile," he said.
    Houston said he looked back a couple of times to see if the others were behind him but saw nothing.
    "I don't think my dad would have left my grandpa," he said.
    JaLynn Houston agreed that Tracy could have easily run as fast as Duane and gotten away from the fire but chose instead to stay with George, who suffered from back problems and was not able to move as fast.
    Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning NewsJaLynn Houston hugs Duane, her son. Her husband, Tracy, may have died trying to save his father. The Houstons lived close together on a 65-acre piece of property called Houston Ranch in Neola. George took care of about 30 cattle on his ranch and 40 sheep. He had four children and 19 grandchildren. Tracy left behind five daughters and Duane, his only son. The daughters range in age from 11 to 19.
    George Houston spent 41 years with the U.S. Forest Service and was very experienced around fires, said Margie. No one could have predicted how fast the fire "exploded," she said. If George and Tracy had known how much speed the fire would gain, "he would have been out of there. He would not have stayed."
    By the time the first firefighters arrived, Margie Houston said the inferno was already past containment.
    "They said it was out of control from the time they got there," she said.
    Margie said she could see from her porch how fast the fire progressed. It was when JaLynn received a call from police that Duane had been picked up on the road that they knew there was trouble. Margie and JaLynn drove to the area where the fire started and were stopped by a roadblock. While talking with a person at the roadblock whom they knew, a message was sent over his radio that there were four victims and two of them were dead.
    Margie said she knew immediately those victims were Tracy and George. Roberson was flown to a local hospital but died a short time later. A Fish and Wildfire officer reportedly also suffered minor burn injuries after reaching the bodies of the Houstons and pulling them out.
    Margie and JaLynn said their husbands would be remembered as men who loved their families, loved the outdoors, their church and their community.
    "Everything he did was for us," JaLynn said while fighting back tears.
    Tracy Houston worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Between work and family, JaLynn said what stood out about her husband was "his dedication to everything he did. He gave it 100 percent."
    Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning NewsGlenn Tom Jr., right, gets a sandwich from Auggie Santio of the American Red Cross at a temporary shelter in Fort Duchesne. The towns of White Rocks and Farm Creek remained evacuated Sunday, totaling about 500 residents. The majority of White Creek residents are members of the Ute Indian Tribe. About 40 people sought shelter at the Fort Duchesne Recreation Center. Others were able to stay with relatives. Some pitched tents at a Fourth of July Powwow celebration happening in Fort Duchesne.
    Officials announced late Sunday that the White Rocks community could return to their homes at 8 a.m. today. The residents who live in the area north of White Rocks — about 16 homes — were to be escorted to their homes late Sunday to retrieve perishable goods, and today Farm Creek residents will be allowed in to get perishable goods. Officials say those areas remain extremely hazardous because of downed power lines and other threats. About five homes have been determined destroyed by the fire, but that number is expected to rise.
    Although Uintah County Commissioner Rod Harris described the fire Sunday evening as still being "very explosive and dangerous," Martin said at this point they considered the community of White Rocks as "being safe" from the fire and hoped to have news soon about when residents might be able to return to their homes.
    Federal officials said that a Girl Scout recreation camp and 150 homes near Dryfork Canyon were also threatened by flames.
    Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning NewsAn air tanker makes a scouting run over the Neola wildfire. The tanker is one of six fighting the inferno. The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team called the Neola North Fire the "number one priority" in Utah for firefighters right now. Early estimates of the cost to fight the fire was $300,000, a figure that was expected to be much higher in the coming days.
    Up to 75 percent of that figure will be paid by funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a press release from the agency issued on Sunday. The money will be provided via fire management assistance grants and could be used to pay for equipment use, mobilization and demobilization, materials, supplies and field camps.
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 12-02-2007 at 09:02 PM.
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    Default Lake Mountain Fire Contained

    Firefighters contain 8-day fire
    CHARLYNN ANDERSON - North County Staff
    An aggressive assault by firefighters from numerous local, state and federal agencies contained the 8-day-old fire that burned on Lake Mountain, west of Utah Lake. Saratoga Springs Fire Chief Mike Penovich said that the fire was declared 100 percent contained on Monday.

    Gusting winds, low humidity, high temperatures and extra-dry conditions fanned the flames that scorched approximately 7,000 acres -- 600 acres inside Saratoga Springs, and the rest in unincorporated Utah County, state and Bureau of Land Management lands.

    Firefighters from Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain, Cedar Fort, Lehi, Goshen, Utah County, Utah Department of Natural Resources and BLM fought the fire in mountainous terrain pulling in support equipment and personnel from all over the Intermountain West.

    Three large air tanker planes and two smaller planes sprayed fire retardant while three helicopters dropped water on the blaze.

    "It wasn't like we could just fight the fire on one front because the fire had so many separate branches that all had to be monitored and controlled," said Penovich. The fire was three separate time- and proximity-related fires, all human-caused, said Barbara Gardner of the Utah Department of Natural Resources who served as agency representative on the fires.

    The first fire started about 3 a.m. on June 24 near Mercer Canyon and is presumed to have been caused by human activity because there was no lightning in the area, said Gardner. The exact cause is still under investigation. Later that day people shooting guns started another Lake Mountain fire.

    Just when firefighters started to get the upper hand on the two fires, another group of people shooting firearms around tinder-dry vegetation sparked a third blaze in the Moseda area on June 29. Incident managers began referring to the combined Mercer and Moseda fires as the M and M Complex Fire.

    No one was injured and no structures were damaged, but the Lake Mountain subdivision in Saratoga Springs was threatened on June 25 by the fast-moving fire that scorched back yard fences a mere 20 feet away from homes. Some people had already voluntarily evacuated, but no evacuations were ordered. Utility poles were burned and power lines damaged, but communications towers were not harmed.

    Gardner estimated that the final price tag for fighting the M and M fires will be between $1.5 million to $2 million. The Utah Interagency Fire Center has issued fire restrictions for all federal, state and private lands west of I-15.

    "It's so bone dry, the junipers on the hill have about the same fuel moisture as lumber from Home Depot. Any little spark can ignite a fire," said Gardner.
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    Default Massive Wildfire now over 283000 Acres

    Massive Wildfire Grows to 283,000 Acres
    July 8th, 2007 @ 5:30pm
    If you have photos of this wildfire you wish to submit, please send them to photos@ksl.com.

    Sam Penrod, Alex Cabrero and The Associated Press Reporting

    Video Report of fire:

    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=1450723

    A massive wildfire that has swept across two central Utah counties grew to 283,000 acres Sunday -- a size fire officials say make it the largest in the state's recorded history.

    "We're fast approaching 300,000 acres, if we're not already there," said Mike Melton, fire management officer for Utah's Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. "I was on the initial attack of this fire in the air, and this fire just ran away from us. We couldn't put a dent in it."

    Previously the largest recorded Utah wildfire burned 95,000 acres, state fire information officer Jim Springer said.

    "This is a monstrous fire," said Springer.

    For a second day, the fire paralyzed Central Utah. I-15 is shut down again through Beaver and Millard counties, as the fire keeps getting bigger.

    "God spared us," said Millard County resident Peter Vandermeide. "We got burned all around us. The houses got saved because I had a fire break around the houses."



    That fire started late Friday afternoon. Firefighters are still trying to get any containment on the wildfire.

    The fire began picking up this afternoon, with plumes of black smoke, and then intense flames that are likely 100 feet into the air. This blaze continues to be very unpredictable.

    At about 3 p.m. the Highway Patrol shut down nearly 100 miles of I-15 southbound from Scipio to I-70 because smoke and flames moved close to the freeway. If you're heading west on I-70, that stretch is closed from Highway 189 to I-15.

    The detour backed up traffic for miles, with motorists trying to get around the fire. People were stopping and asking for directions on how to get around the fire.



    Yesterday afternoon, the fire jumped the freeway near the Chevron gas station just north of Cove Fort. A couple of garage-type buildings were destroyed near the gas station, along with a pickup truck that was left in a park-n-ride lot.

    Employees told KSL's Sam Penrod the fire moved so fast, they were almost in a state of shock. They can't believe their gas station didn't burn up.

    Shaun Hodges said, "The smoke came over. You could feel the heat off the fire, and that's when we figured it was time to go and got out of here."

    Shay Hodges added, "Just before we got out of here, there were orange-hot coals landing all around. It was crazy."

    As for the Cove Fort Historic Site, the fire got close on the west side, but nothing was damaged.

    The RV park were the LDS missionaries live saw fire all around it yesterday, but no damage there either.



    A helicopter has been working the fire all afternoon and making water drops on the flare-ups. Overall, this fire is just huge. The challenge for firefighters is to protect structures and wait for more firefighters to get here, so they can start building a perimeter for the fire. Only 109 local firefighters have been working the fire since it began Friday, many of them volunteers.

    A Type I fire crew -- the elite units in wildland firefighting -- arrived with about 500 firefighters equipment Sunday and was assessing the fire, fire information officer LaCee Bartholomew said. That team will take over management of the fire at 6 a.m. Monday.

    Winds continue to push the fire along this evening. However, crews say it is not burning as fast nor as hard as it was yesterday. That has allowed crews to take a closer look at the damage. The fire is still extremely active, and is burning north-northwest, and east. With that wind blowing, the direction could change at any second. That's why crews decided to shut I-15 again.

    "The wind and the fuels dictated our tactics to us," firefighters say. "We've been on the defensive the whole time."

    The whole thing started with a lightning strike on Friday afternoon, and has raced through about 442 square miles of extremely dry sagebrush, cheat grass and pinion juniper. It's being stoked by high winds, tripled digit temperatures and low humidity, Melton said. Grass and other vegetation in the area is extremely dry, he said.

    "When you go to the lumber store and buy kiln-dried lumber, that's 7 percent fuel moisture," Melton said. "Our fuel moisture here in the large material is at 3 and the grasses are at zero."

    No containment date is being predicted.

    Evacuation orders issued Saturday for Cove Fort and a power plant in Sulpherdale were also lifted Sunday.

    Utah has been awarded a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help cover firefighting costs.
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 12-02-2007 at 09:02 PM.
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    Default Milford Fire Update

    Crews Face Pivotal Day in Fight Against Wildfire
    July 11th, 2007 @ 6:49am
    If you have photos of this wildfire you wish to submit, please send them to photos@ksl.com.

    John Hollenhorst Reporting

    More crews are on the way today to help firefighters get ahead of the Milford Flat fire. Crews say today, day six of fighting this fire, is a pivotal one.

    With major progress reported last night on that big wildfire near Cove Fort, firefighters are breathing a bit easier this morning. But they're also bracing for what could be a very tough day.

    The biggest wildfire ever recorded in Utah got a little bigger yesterday. It went from 311,000 acres to about 329,000. But the good news is on the containment. It jumped from about 10 percent to 30 percent, which means firefighters are starting to get a pretty good perimeter on the fire.



    Fire Incident Commander Rowdy Muir said, "Oh yeah, 30 percent containment makes me feel good. You know the fire has grown a little bit in size. But our containment has grown, so that makes me feel a lot better. I think three or four days and we'll have a pretty good handle on it."

    "I don't foresee any real issues ahead of us. I certainly won't say it's over. We've got 30 percent containment of 329,000 acres. We've got a long way to go," he said.

    The reason this could be the key day is because it will be one of the biggest challenges. They're expecting dry conditions and a lot of gusty winds with possible microbursts. Dry lightning storms are forecast for the area.



    "Whenever you get a dry lightning storm it causes a lot of erratic winds to come out of the clouds," Fire Information Officer Vince Mazzier explained this morning.

    "It makes it a little bit more of a heads-up situation. You have to really pay attention to what's going on," Mazzier said.

    They say if they can get through today without a major breakout, they may finally be able to get a real handle on this really big fire.

    So far they've been concentrating their effort along the freeway to make sure the fire doesn't cross over to the east side of Interstate 15.

    And they put a lot of effort into holding the line on the south end, where a pretty big blaze erupted yesterday. Late last night they also put bulldozers to work shoring up the north perimeter of the fire.
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 12-02-2007 at 09:02 PM.
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