Fire in Parley's Canyon 45 percent contained

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SUMMIT COUNTY -- About half the fire burning in Parley's Canyon has been contained, but it could smolder for days. The fire started Sunday around noon on the north side of the canyon, but it isn't the only thing firefighters are concerned about.

The fire is still burning just above a shooting range for the Unified Police, but the smoke has cleared out. So far, the fire has burned about 50 acres of Forest Service and private land.

Whether target shooting had anything to do with the fire is still under investigation.

Firefighters worked around the clock and have contained 45 percent of it. As they work in the dense shrub oak, their safety is the No. 1 goal. There's little shade and dehydration is just one threat.

"It's steep country, really rocky, which could pose injuries to knees and ankles," said Jennifer Sullivan, incident management team spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service. "There's also rattlesnakes up there."

Firefighters also worked to protect the watershed and keep the fire from spreading down slope in the I-80 corridor. Sullivan said protecting the watershed against future erosion is a priority.

"That's always a natural occurrence after a fire has come through," she said. "It burns out the vegetation."

No structures have been threatened and there have been no road closures, although a sign along the interstate Sunday night cautioned of smoke.

Police say the shooting range was built with fire precautions in mind, considering the area. Monday was not a normal training day and the range was open to authorized personnel for personal use.

About 80 firefighters have fought the fire in the air and on the ground. Monday afternoon, a helicopter that was used to dump water on the fire Sunday was on stand-by.

"We did have firefighters up and working all night long, and they worked really hard and did a good job on putting a fire line around the fire perimeter," Sullivan said.

The incident command spokeswoman says a quiet fire season has allowed more resources to be dedicated to fighting this fire.

Firefighters aren't sure when the fire will be entirely contained. Officials say although the fire is now mostly under control, hot spots that remain could smolder through the week.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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