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Uintah Fire caused by downed power line, authorities say

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UINTAH, Weber County — A wildfire that destroyed three homes and damaged two others Tuesday was caused by a downed power line, Weber County officials said Friday.

Authorities said they received reports of a downed power line in the area where the fire started hours after the fire started Tuesday.

In a statement, Rocky Mountain Power officials said it was working with county and state officials in the investigation of the fire and suppression efforts.

“We are aware of the county’s findings and announcement. The company is conducting its own investigation which is still ongoing,” company officials said in the statement. "We express our sympathies to the families harmed by the fire at this difficult time. We also appreciate the efforts of local public safety officials and firefighters who have worked tirelessly to prevent the spread of this fire."

Strong wind gusts blew in Weber Canyon throughout Tuesday morning, which helped fan the flames and hamper early fire suppression efforts. It was unknown if those winds caused the downed power line.

Authorities on Friday also lowered the number of houses destroyed from five, as originally reported, to three, after conducting a door-to-door assessment in the neighborhoods the fire burned through. Two houses and nine other buildings, including sheds, outbuildings and one "mixed commercial" structure were damaged. Four other structures were destroyed, the Weber Fire District posted on Facebook late Friday.

Uintah Fire Damage
3- Homes destroyed
2- Homes damaged
1- Mixed commercial property damaged
8- Other structures damaged (sheds, outbuildings etc.)
4- Other structures destroyed (sheds, outbuildings etc.)

Total: 18 destroyed or damaged structures
Total suppression cost estimate as of 9-8-17 0800 hours: $849,000.00
Source: Weber Fire District Facebook page

The fire forced residents east of U.S. 89 in the town to evacuate, but residents were able to return to their homes Thursday night.

The fire remains 85 percent contained and is burning brush and grasses in the Uintah Highlands east of Combe Road and Woodland Drive in Uintah, according to Weber Fire District Fire Marshal Brandon Thueson. The fire has burned more than 600 acres.

Contributing: Shara Park, Pat Reavy and Annie Knox

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