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Firefighters battle flames in Centerville mountains


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CENTERVILLE -- Davis County investigators say a wildfire burning in the hills above Centerville was most likely sparked by people shooting guns.

The fire started around 2:00 Thursday afternoon. So far, it has burned more than 30 acres and continues to grow.

Fighting the fire has been difficult because of steep terrain. As firefighters did their best to try and put it out, some of the residents who live nearby used it as a learning experience.

Justin Bagnell figured it was a good time to teach his children how dangerous fires are and what firefighters do to fight them.

"Oh, they love it, my two little ones. All they care about is the helicopters," Bagnell said.

Two helicopters, airplanes and firefighters on the ground were all part of the effort to get this fire contained. Fortunately for homeowners like Blotter, the wind pushed the flames up the hill away from homes.

"With a big fire at this magnitude, you always have a concern for the wind. We're concerned about the switch of the wind, moving this way," said Centerville resident Patricia Blotter.

As the wind pushed the fire, flames kept popping up as it burned into thicker brush. Smoke could be seen for miles.

Investigators think people shooting guns caused the fire, sparking it in dry grass.

"We've got some people who were shooting targets in the area and are cooperating with the investigation," said Jason Curry, with the Utah Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands.

"Almost every time we go up there people are shooting," said area resident Brad Mullins.

Mullins said there is an unofficial shooting range near where the fire started, where people have caused trouble before.

"It just causes a problem if you're hiking up there," Mullins said. "You're getting shot at, and bullets are whizzing past your head."

Regardless of the cause, firefighters are continuing their effort to put out the flames.

"Our fire crew is exceptional in taking care of us and the people and the homes here," Blotter said. "They do a great job in protecting us."

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

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Alex Cabrero

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