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As wildfires rage, Utah issues first early fire closures in 5 years

By Peter Samore | Posted - Jun. 12, 2012 at 9:56 p.m.


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PLEASANT GROVE — A fire burning in the hills above Pleasant Grove Tuesday evening provided further evidence for the reasoning behind Utah's first early fire closures order in five years.

The fire stared shortly after 5 p.m. near the "G" on the mountain above Pleasant Grove. The 35 firefighters and one helicopter sent to the blaze were able to contain it to under 5 acres. No structures were threatened, and the cause is under investigation.

But that was not the case for a brush fire near Centerville Monday night that burned 13 acres. It was the last straw for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, prompting the agency to issue the fire closures.

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The cause of Monday night's fire is believed to be a spark from a firearm. The man who shot the gun may face a charge of reckless use of a firearm.

From now through the rest of the wildfire season no fireworks will be allowed on unincorporated lands, smoking will be limited to cars in the same areas. But a state law prohibits the restriction of target practice because of Second Amendment protections.

Meanwhile, the Division of Forestry's director, Dick Buehler, says in issuing the new rules he was also thinking of the firefighters who lost their lives in the White Rock Fire near Cedar City earlier this month.

"Right now, we probably have thousands of firefighters around the West doing the same thing," Buehler said. "Every time they go out on these fires — it's an extremely dangerous profession, and we want them to come home at night."

More details on the fires and the restrictions will be posted shortly.

Contributing: Jordan Ormond and Becky Bruce

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