Tinder-dry conditions and hot temperatures have stretched fire fighting resources this summer in the Pacific Northwest. Now another blaze has gobbled up acres of thick oak and maple in the steeply rugged terrain of Deer Creek State Park and Reservoir in Utah.
About 90 firefighters were on the line battling a blaze that had already blackened nearly 500 acres, helped by hard work done overnight with bulldozers as they struggled for containment. An additional 80 to 90 firefighters were expected to arrive to join the fight, according to the St. Luis Tribune.
Aided by a fleet of helicopters loaded with water and fire-retardant, the ground crews are building containment lines, dousing flare-ups and watching for hot spots. Four air tankers and several helicopters were assigned to this fire. State Road 92 leading from Sundance to the junction of SR-114 was closed to clear the route for firefighting operations.
This particular fire is believed to be human-caused, with a connection to the discovery of a burned ATV found within the scorched perimeter, based on press reports.
It’s been an especially brutal year for fires with no relief in sight. A lightning-caused fire three miles south of Utah’s Oak Grove Campground burned 80 acres and was continuing to grow. The campground was evacuated as a precaution. Another fire believed to have been started by a transient squatter burned 12-plus acres of brush nearby. It’s unclear whether that fire was an accident or intentionally set.
In Utah’s Davis County a fire that had been contained flared again last week. Some 335 acres of oil-rich phragmite reeds reignited near the community of West Point and was reportedly being contained by 50 firefighters on the ground. This fire was also human-caused.
Firefighters responded to a call found a shirtless and shoeless 29-year-old man at the scene. He had allegedly driven his vehicle through five different gates to trespass on the property before setting a campfire that spread out of control. After a struggle, he was arrested by Davis County sheriff’s deputies and booked on charges including suspicion of reckless burning and causing a wildlands fire.
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