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Residents on standby as fire rages in Tooele; firefighters fight blaze in Morgan

By Haley Smith, and Mike Anderson, | Posted - Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 10:33pm


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TOOELE COUNTY — A community in Tooele County on is standby Tuesday as a wildfire continues to char the landscape behind their homes.

The Anaconda Fire was caused by a lightning strike Sunday afternoon and was rekindled Monday due to hot weather and windy conditions. Residents from Churchwood Lane and the Pine Canyon area were evacuated Monday evening but were allowed back into their homes later that night.

The fire had torched about 1,100 acres near Pine Canyon as of 11 a.m. Tuesday morning. There are about 40 firefighters working to contain the fire, and officials have assigned 20 more to help.

As of 6:30 p.m., officials reported the fire was 25 percent contained.

Crews say because of the weather and the fire's spread in multiple directions, it's hard to contain.

"We're expecting the same kinds of conditions today as we did yesterday, very hot, windy,” said Trent Bristol with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “So we don't have much containment on this fire."

Officials are also concerned about roaming animals and have offered help to livestock owners.

"Our rec complex is open for livestock,” said Tooele County Commissioner Jerry Hurst. “If livestock gets threatened, they can take their animals down there."

Resident Wendy Parker has 11 horses at her home, and after being temporarily evacuated Monday night, she says it's made her family think twice about having an emergency plan in place.

"It was really scary and you don't know what to grab out of your home,” Parker said. “You think about it, but when it comes down to reality, you just start grabbing whatever.”

Crews continue to battle lightning fires as new blazes burn
McKenzie Romero
SALT LAKE CITY — Fire crews continued to fight fires caused by lightning across the state early this week as new fires erupted Tuesday.

The cause of an approximately 175-acre fire that started just 2 miles north of East Carbon on Tuesday is unknown. The fire was burning grass and brush with no containment reported, but officials said no structures were threatened as the fire moved north, away from the town.

Meanwhile, a new fire was reported near Salina, burning about 7 acres and growing as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Crews responded with heavy tankers as they worked to get ahead of the blaze.

• Sheep Fire: Burning about 11 miles south of Terra, the Sheep Fire grew to about 1,850 acres, with no containment reported. The road through Lookout Pass remained closed Tuesday as crews battled the lightning-caused fire.

Additional resources were being called in to tackle the fire, BLM officials said, and interagency crews employed back-burning techniques along the fire's inner perimeter. The fire was threatening sage grouse and mule deer habitats but no human structures.

• The Indian Fire, which started Saturday in a steep, rocky area east of 24th Street in Ogden, is suspected to be human- caused and was reported at 70 percent containment Monday. It had burned an estimated 50 acres.

• Lion Peak Fire: The cause of the Lion Peak Fire, which started southwest of Simpson Mountain on Monday, was unknown Tuesday after 950 acres had burned. Containment was unknown.

• Lucky Fire: The 35-acre fire was reportedly caused by lightning near Simpson Springs Road and Simpson Mountain on Sunday. No containment was reported on Tuesday.

• Lincoln Fire: Officials believe the Lincoln Fire was sparked by Lightning on Monday, burning an estimated 35 acres near Deadman Canyon by Tuesday evening. Containment was unknown.

• South Mountain Fire: Reports indicate the South Mountain Fire remained at about 25 acres Tuesday. The cause of the fire, burning about 8 miles south of Grantsville, was undetermined.

• Bear Canyon Fire: The lightning-caused fire had burned about 8 acres east of Carbon. It was 10 percent contained Tuesday.

• Cottonwood Ridge Fire: Burning south of Nine Mile Canyon, the fire had burned about 15 acres Tuesday and was 50 percent contained. No structures were threatened.

Utah officials are urging residents to be ready to evacuate at any time.

"Be prepared, be ready — have the most important things ready to get out of the house,” Bristol said. "With the wind being what it is, there is a good chance that we might see something flare up and we can see this take off again."

Parker said she grabbed pictures, historic family furniture and some clothes Monday night, and with the fire still burning in plain sight of her backyard, she's not taking any chances.

"I was going to unpack my car that I packed last night,” she said, “but we're leaving it."

Officials were able to get in and dig a fire break behind the majority of the homes and drop retardant, so if the fire does spread, the homes should be out of harm's way.

Tunnel Hollow Fire

The dubbed Tunnel Hollow Fire east of Morgan has burned over 1,000 acres, and there's concern that it could reach I-84.

The biggest issue is getting to the blaze, which is on extremely steep and rocky terrain, according to Jason Curry with the Division of Forestry. It means that progress in fighting the fire has been slow.

"The weather and the wind and everything just blew it up the side of the mountain," Curry said.

Curry said around 6 p.m. that the fire was about 10 percent contained and had burned an estimated 1,200 acres. The fire was started by lightning.

Four helicopters with nearby fire agencies and the National Guard are dropping water onto the fire, and ground crews were forced to hike much of the way in.

"The National Guard is here, loaning use of the Blackhawk and personnel needed to do additional bucket drops," Curry said.

If the fire reaches the highway, it could mean a closure of both lanes. More than 100 firefighters — including a hotshot crew, 16 smokejumpers, 4 helicopters and 2 single-engine air tankers &mdash are on the ground working to build lines to keep the flames away from I-84.

"We've got a big potential for smoke impacting traffic," Curry said.

No structures are currently threatened. The Weber River between Croyden and Morgan is closed to any river activities.

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