Fire crews battling a blaze on Maple Mountain east of Provo have been hampered by steep terrain, rolling rocks, high winds and a lack of sufficient manpower and resources.
The fire, on Forest Service land just above the Seven Peaks Water Park and near a proposed ski resort site, began around 4 p.m. Thursday. It had consumed 80 acres by Friday morning. Officials have not determined the exact cause of the blaze, although they are calling it suspicious.A 30-man crew of firefighters from Provo City, Utah County, Pleasant Grove and the Uinta National Forest responded to the fire. A 20-member Forest Service crew from Boise arrived at 4 a.m. The Forest Service had difficulty finding a backup crew.
"Everybody's crews are in Idaho, and there is nothing available," said Loyal Clark, spokeswoman for the Uinta National Forest.
One load of retardant was dropped on the fire Thursday evening. The drop was delayed for some moments while two children who had climbed up into the fire area hiked down the mountain. Two more air drops were scheduled Friday morning.
Victor Borcherds, owner of Seven Peaks Resort, said he was worried that the fire might move north onto the area where a funicular would be constructed if his proposed ski resort is given a go-ahead by the Forest Service later this year. The fire could cause erosion problems in the area, making construction of the funicular more difficult, Borcherds said.