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Sam Penrod ReportingFire crews have managed to get the upper hand on the Cascade Springs wildfire that started burning out of control nearly a week ago. Now the bill for fighting the out of control prescribed burn is coming in.
The sky is clear of smoke today; crews expect to have the fire 100-percent contained by tonight. Now that the smoke has cleared taxpayers are learning of the fire bill. It’s already $1.6 million and it will likely grow by another half million before firefighters are through.
Helicopters continue to drop water on hot spots of the Cascade Spring fire today. But fire crews say they made a lot of progress over the weekend, and by tonight the fire will be 100-percent contained.
Peter D. Aquanni, Fire Information Officer: “Containment doesn't mean there isn't any smoke or fire out there, although it looks beautiful today. There will be smoke and little bits of heat out there so it's not 100-percent controlled, if you will."
So far 7800 acres have burned; fire officials believe that number will remain steady. What will go up is the price tag for fighting the blaze. And as the smoke begins to clear, local government leaders want answers from the Forest Service on why they weren't included in plans for the prescribed burn.
Jay Price, Wasatch County Council: “We didn't hear a word from the forest service. I think there was a notice posted over there that they were going to burn sometime between July and September, but we didn't hear a word from them."
Local leaders believe it was a mistake for the Forest Service to eliminate grazing in the area, believing that is a better alternative to prescribed burning. Now locals fear wildlife will pay the real price when the fire escaped the planned burn area.
Jay Price, Wasatch County Council: "They'll head into the fields, be right down here in the farmer's hay stacks, especially the elk. The deer I'm afraid will just starve to death."
When fire crews are finished, a special team will go in to evaluate potential problems from the fire ranging from forage on the forest to concerns over erosion.
Peter D. Aquanni, Fire Information Officer: “It's not going to be a devastating fire to this area, I think you will see green on those hillsides next year."
The recreation restrictions put into effect last week, including forest roads and trails near the burn area, remain in effect as does the closure on Deer Creek for boats since helicopters are still using the reservoir for water.