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Blazes big, small plague firefighters

Exhausted Utah crews attempting to get the upper hand

SHARE Blazes big, small plague firefighters

Small and large fires continued to char tens of thousands of acres across the state this weekend as exhausted firefighters attempted to get an upper hand.

A national fire status report Saturday night stated that across the nation Friday there were 194 fires that had burned 74,302 acres. The estimated daily cost of containing the blazes throughout the country is $7.7 million, according to Fire & Aviation Management and the National Incident Information Center.

Some of the largest fires in Utah were near the Fishlake National Forest in central Utah.

The Broad fire 15 miles west of Nephi had consumed about 17,000 acres Saturday night. It was considered 75 percent contained. The U.S. Forest Service reported the fire was likely caused by lightning, but it is still being investigated.

The Mona West fire near Mona had covered about 2,900 acres Saturday, with high temperatures and dust devils contributing to the fire's spread. Homes and power lines have been threatened but no losses have occurred, according to a press release from Fish Lake National Forest.

Near Provo, the Vivian Park fire in South Fork Canyon had covered 1,040 acres as of Saturday morning and saw more activity throughout the day. It is expected to burn through the next few days before it is under control, said Charlie Johnson with the incident management team from California helping with the fire.

Smoke and ash were reported in the Provo/Orem area.

"The air quality has been pretty bad the last couple of days," Johnson said.

A group of Girl Scouts may have to postpone their Monday arrival at a camp in the canyon, and fire management teams are keeping canyon residents updated on conditions. But so far there is not an immediate threat to structures in the canyon, Johnson said.

In Davis County, a fire started along railroad tracks on the Clinton-Sunset border. Clinton Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Vega said it took crews about 45 minutes to put out four separate blazes.

"It started from a train, and we don't know what exactly caused it," Vega said. "It was either a dragging brake (sparking against the tracks) or sometimes they build up residue in their exhaust stack and, like a chimney, it will throw out hot embers."

Vega said about 20 firefighters and five trucks were on scene. He said crews were still investigating Saturday.

Late Saturday afternoon firefighters were still battling the High Point fire in Logan Canyon that had consumed 600 acres. There is no estimated time of control or containment, said Salt Lake Interagency Fire spokeswoman Kathy Jo Pollock.

Though it came close to a golf course, "nothing was hit. There were no losses," Pollock said. Nearby Wind Cave Trail and Green Canyon Road were closed to make sure residents didn't get near the blazes.

Pollock said the fire was started Friday when a hawk hit a power line and blew a transformer. Though the fire was fairly calm Saturday evening, Pollock said, there was still potential it could spread either east over the ridge line toward some structures or south toward Logan Canyon.

A fire in Dixie National Forest, about 13 miles northwest of Escalante, caused the closure of Aquarius/Teasdale Road (Forest Services road 154) between Whites Flat (junction of Forest Service roads 152 and 154) on the south and The Gap (junction of Forest Service roads 154 and 465) on the north.

This fire grew from 100 acres to 160 acres on Saturday. Nearby campgrounds were evacuated. Firefighters worked on the firebreak, although there was no estimated time of containment.

The Bureau of Land Management was working on three big fires Saturday in Utah and one in southeastern Idaho.

BLM crews determined lightning caused a 100-acre fire south of Fairfield. BLM reported zero containment Saturday and could not estimate when it would be corralled.

A fire on the west side of Stansbury Island, 10 miles north of Grantsville in Tooele County, is 100 percent contained.

Also contained is a fire 50 miles southwest of Garrison, in the Wah Wah Wilderness Study Area. Crews are still monitoring the area.

The Oldroyd fire on Monroe Mountain in the Manning Meadow/Box Creek area was contained at 200 acres. Crews are fighting with a helicopter equipped with a 700-gallon water bucket and retardant.

The Yance Complex fire near Scipio is the combination of two fires, one of which is contained. They have burned a total 3,800 acres.

BLM workers hoped to contain the Idaho fire by Saturday evening, which has burned 150,000 acres near Idaho Falls.


E-mail: ehayes@desnews.com; lhancock@desnews.com