2019 Wildfire Season: The Latest On Fires Burning Across Utah | KUER 90.1

2019 Wildfire Season: The Latest On Fires Burning Across Utah

Aug 22, 2019

Updated 4:05 p.m. MDT 8/22/19: The Goose Point Fire, which broke out Wednesday on West Mountain between Payson and Utah Lake, grew from several hundred acres to 6,500 acres overnight. 

Dave Vickers, the fire management officer for the Wasatch Front Area, said that early investigations suggest the blaze was started by machinery and is growing at an unusually fast rate.

“Normally during the night and early morning, fires die down and we can get a little ahead of the game, but it burned actively throughout the whole night,” he said, adding that low-humidity and a dense supply of grasses are driving the quick growth. 

Vickers said the size of the fire is creating a lot of smoke, and will likely have an impact along the Wasatch Front.. In the meantime, his crew is busy using bulldozers and fire engines to secure the base of the mountain and protect homes and structures in the surrounding area. 

A different 350-acre fire was started just north of Beaver at Mile Marker 122 on I-15, resulting in freeway closures. Officials believe the blaze began after a trailer carrying carnival rides detached from a truck and rolled into the brush.

The Manti-La Sal National Forest took over the management of the Peavine Canyon and Poison Canyon fires on Sunday, August 18. The forest service assumed full control from an incident management team that had overseen the fires since they began in late July with the goal of clearing out decades of accumulated debris. 

“We accomplished several year’s worth of work in one month,” Incident Commander John Shaffer said, referring to the amount of time it would have taken firefighters to achieve the same results with prescribed burns and mechanical treatments.

So far, this fire season has been mild, thanks to heavy precipitation this past winter and spring. 

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t risk. According to Jason Curry, a spokesperson for Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands, thunderstorms bring high winds and dry lightning and could pose additional fire management challenges. In fact, a lighting storm sparked more than 30 fires in Box Elder County on Sunday, August 4. The majority of those were put out within hours, although some burned for multiple days.

Utah Wildfire Info and Inciweb are currently tracking a total of 11 fires across the state — four of which are larger than 1,000 acres. 

  • The Goose Point Fire, just north of Beaver, began on August 22 and was likely caused by machinery. The blaze expanded from several hundred acres to 6,500 acres within 24 hours and is now 60% contained. 
  • Five miles east of Beaver, the Skull Flat Fire has been burning since June 18 when it was ignited by a lightning strike. It has consumed 1,630 acres and is 95% contained.
  • The lightning-caused Peavine Canyon Fire in Southeast Utah continues to burn roughly 22 miles west of Blanding. The blaze began on July 16 and has burned 3,904 acres to-date. It was projected to be fully contained by August 15 but remains 90% contained as of this update. 
  • The Poison Canyon Fire was induced by lightning on July 26. The fire has burned 1,520 acres some 22 miles northwest of Monticello and is 85% contained. It was also expected to be fully contained by August 15. 

See the latest active wildfires and projects map from Utah Wildfire Info below.

Source: Utah Wildfire Info (utahfireinfo.gov)