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Welding spark sets off fire at Camp Williams

Buildings, nearby towns not in any serious danger

SHARE Welding spark sets off fire at Camp Williams

A spark from a welding torch touched off a wildfire at Camp Williams Tuesday morning burning between 600 and 700 acres before firefighters got the blaze partially contained.

The fire swiftly burned grasses and brush as it moved south and west. Firefighters had successfully cut a firebreak along the southwest edge of the blaze, but at about 5 p.m. the fire jumped that line, forcing fire crews to set back-burns in order to establish a new perimeter, Salt Lake County Fire Capt. Jay Ziolkowski said.

Still, the fire never threatened any buildings at Camp Williams and posed only a low threat to residences in Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs in Utah County, Ziolkowski said. Officials were calling the fire 70 percent contained at 4 p.m., and the jump in the fire line was only a small set-back that wouldn't jeopardize total containment, Ziolkowski said.

The fire started just after 11 a.m. while a welder was making repairs to a jumping tower on camp property just west of Redwood Road. The tower is used to train for activities such as repelling. Two people were monitoring the welding as a precaution, but were still unable to prevent the blaze, Ziolkowski said.

More than 100 firefighters from nine fire departments were working the fire, with help from an air tanker and two helicopters, Ziolkowski said. Among the fire agencies on the scene were Bluffdale, the Bureau of Land Management, Eagle Mountain, Lehi, Salt Lake County, Saratoga Springs, South Jordan, West Jordan and fire crews from the military.

Three other fires continued to burn in other parts of Utah Tuesday.

In Uintah County, 35 miles north and east of Vernal, 125 firefighters had the Diamond Breaks fire about 50 percent contained. The fire was started by a lightning strike on July 1, but had burned just 135 acres by Tuesday. Fire officials expected to have the blaze fully contained by today.

Lightning also is thought to have triggered the South Mount Marvine fire east of Richfield in the Fishlake National Forest July 2. That fire was only 20 percent contained Tuesday, having burned 135 acres. Three hot-shot fire-jumping crews were among the 93 firefighters trying to put out the blaze, which was burning at high elevations on steep, rocky slopes that had been difficult to access, according to a press release from the Bureau of Land Management. Fire officials hope to have the fire under control by Friday.

Further south, the Woodenshoe fire, which started June 28, was nearly 70 percent contained Tuesday night, said John Daugherty, fire information officer for the Moab Interagency Fire Center. Low winds Tuesday helped the 160 firefighters get the upper hand on the blaze, which was started by an unattended or runaway campfire and had scorched some 2,700 of the Dark Canyon Wilderness west of Blanding, he said. Officials were closely monitoring green pockets inside the burned areas for more flare-ups, he added, but expect to have the fire at 100 percent containment today.

E-MAIL: jdobner@desnews.com