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Alex Cabrero ReportingWhen it gets this hot and this dry, people in Emigration Canyon get worried, with good reason. But this year, finally, they know help is on the way.
Mention their own fire station to residents in Emigration Canyon and you used to get a snicker or a "yeah right" response. Now, though, it's going to be a reality, and with these dry conditions, the sooner the better.
Megan Finney has only lived in Emigration Canyon three weeks, but it's enough for her to know she'd like to spend forever there; but if a wildfire ever ripped through, there might not be anywhere for her to live.
Fred Smolka has some 50 years in the area, but it's only recently, he says, the town has gotten serious about fire safety. "We have fire days and explain to people what to do to prepare their yards, so if a fire did start, they'll have a better chance of being able to make it," Smolka said.
A recently approved fire station will also give residents a better chance. Smolka, for one, says he's glad. "Well, we're glad it's finally happening because the risk of fire up here is tremendous."
He's not kidding. Everywhere you look is tall, dry grass; the perfect fuel that would turn a small spark into a furious fire. That's why residents have been making what's called "defensible space" around their homes.
"We've moved firewood away from the house, we've removed some of the bushes that are more flammable away from the house," Smoka said.
Goats are also helping to lower the fire danger in Emigration Canyon. There are hundreds of goats eating the kind of vegetation that in a fire would burn, and burn fast.
The town is also installing water lines for fire hydrants; that way the new fire station will be ready.
Salt Lake County Councilman Jeff Allen says, "It was just a no-brainer vote for the council to push that through, because we've got to get that done up there."
Originally, the county council approved $2 million for the fire station, but construction costs have increased recently. Last month, the council had to add almost another million dollars to get the project done.