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Firefighters find unexploded ordnance in wake of Herriman fire


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HERRIMAN -- Residents in Herriman have returned home and are getting back to normal life, but the wildfire that destroyed three homes and forced hundreds to evacuate earlier this week has revealed something that's making many of them nervous.

While working to put out the fire, firefighters found some unexploded ordnance that was previously hidden by the trees and shrubs.

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Mike Moritz's nearly lost his house to the Machine Gun fire

"I was one of the last ones out, so I kind of knew the fire had come close," he said.

His home was spared thanks to the hard work of firefighters, but he's still a bit on edge after hearing a few "booms" coming from just over the mountain where the fire started.

"Yes, it does make you nervous," Moritz said. "If you have children or animals -- and we ride horses up here -- yes, it does make you very nervous."

As the fire swept across Camp Williams and into Herriman, it destroyed most of the foliage in the area. It gave firefighters a clear view at what had long gone undetected: five military explosives.

"They've been there for a long, long time; and the fire exposed those, that we wouldn't have known they were there otherwise," explained Lt. Col. Hank McIntire, spokesman for the Utah National Guard.

The military disposed of the ordnance by either removing them or blowing them up -- which is what Moritz and some of his neighbors heard.

Four of the five were inside the current Camp Williams boundaries, but those boundaries have moved over the years, and one was just outside.

McIntire says it's possible there are more, which anyone could stumble upon.

"If they're out there just being curious, walking around the hills in that area, and they see something that looks like military ordnance, if you didn't drop it, don't pick it up -- and they should call 911," McIntire said.

None of the recently-discovered ordnance were close to any homes.

In regards to the helping people affected by the fire, the National Guard says it's working on developing a claims center where some residents can be reimbursed for damage on site. Officials say that is coming very soon.

E-mail: jstagg@ksl.com

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Jennifer Stagg

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