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2 fires erupt and remind that 'fire season' isn't over yet

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WASATCH — Firefighters mopped up a couple of wildfires that took off on Thursday in the Wasatch Mountains. While the end of the fire season is near, it's been a long, exhausting summer for firefighters.

Most of the foliage is dry and dead across the state which is to be expected this time of year. But in so many areas, it's been that way for the last six months. The Echo Junior fire spread quickly on Thursday in Summit County, after a horseshoe sparked on a rock.

Not far away in Morgan County, the Mahogany Fire roared through this dry grass, after a man lost control of dead brush that he was burning. Fire managers expect fires in October most years, but that's the way it's been all season long.

"Seeing fires grow to this size this time of year is a little bit surprising," said State Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands employee, Jason Curry. "It's the most active year we've had in the last five, for sure, and probably even going back the last 10."

This year, nearly 1500 fires in Utah burned nearly 500,000 acres. 604 were caused by people, and 849 were started by lightning.

This year, nearly 1500 fires in Utah burned nearly 500,000 acres. 604 were caused by people, and 849 were started by lightning.

In early July, the fire season really intensified and for many it appeared as though it might be one of the worst across the west. Resources were stretched very thin, and then, the weather finally gave everybody a break by finally raining.

"In mid-July, we started getting some weather patterns coming in that were going to bring us some long-term moisture an really did calm things down," Curry said.

It was a big relief to several communities across the state. But, it still too early to say it's over.

"Things are still dry," Curry said. "Going in the fall things are deceptive because the temperatures are cooler and the air seems like it's less likely to be wildfire weather. But, people still need to be aware that fires can still happen."

The Mahogany Fire is contained, and the Echo Junior Fire should be contained by the end of the day.


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Jed Boal


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