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SALT LAKE VALLEY -- Three major fires hitting the Salt Lake Valley at the same time have career firefighters saying Thursday was the busiest day they can remember.
"It was a lot of large-scale incidents taking place all at the same time," says Unified Fire Capt. Clint Smith.
He says he can't recall a time when crews have been stretched so thin, and he's been fighting fires for more than 14 years.
"That was the one time where I could remember multiple, large-scale incidents all taking place simultaneously requiring action from every agency within the valley," Smith says.
The 80-acre grass fire near Salt Lake City International Airport, which jumped across I-80 and garnered the most publicity, was a three-alarm fire. At the same time, crews were battling a four-alarm-level fire near the Trans-Jordan Landfill that closed U-111 near the Old Bingham Highway. There was also a two-alarm house fire in Holladay that turned into a brush fire and threatened other homes. In addition, there were other, minor fires and calls crews had to answer.
Despite the era of economic hard times and tightened budgets, Smith says crews managed the day well. He says Unified Fire was staffed the same as it would have been on any day.
"At the end of the day, everyone went home - and that's the most important thing to us as firefighters," Smith says.
Smith says the weather, with temperatures in the 70s through Saturday, should help restore the equilibrium.
BLM crews say Thursday was also a busy day for them statewide. A spokesperson tells KSL Newsradio they started the day battling 13 fires, and ended the day with 21 fires still on the books.