Crews reach full containment on Rockport Fire

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21 2013 8:01 a.m. MDT

Utah has endured two draining weeks after fires burning across the state have destroyed homes, evacuated neighborhoods and kept fire crews working around the clock, but firefighters have gained important ground.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has endured two draining weeks after fires burning across the state have destroyed homes, evacuated neighborhoods and kept fire crews working around the clock.

As of Tuesday evening, 10 of those fires were still burning, but firefighters have gained important ground, reporting full containment of the Rockport Fire in Summit County. The fire burned nearly 2,000 acres, including 14 homes.

A team remained on hand Monday night to monitor the area and residents were alerted to potential threats should heavy rainfall bring mud and debris from the burn scar down on the their homes.

Dangerous conditions still exist, as seen in neighboring Idaho where crews were battling a wildfire that has driven 2,300 people from their homes.

Heather O'Hanlon, a fire mitigation and information specialist with the Bureau of Land Management, said she's hopeful considering the bulk of this year's fires were caused by lightning and not by humans.

The Farmington Spine Fire, which burned 58 acres and was fully contained as of Sunday, was one of the first human-caused fires this year. Crews will be monitoring the area throughout the week.

"I think we've got some good messages out there that have really brought awareness up, and we're just not having as many human-caused fires," O'Hanlon said. "We have a good prevention order in place, at least for the BLM, and there have been some timely fire restrictions that went into place and now they're out."

O'Hanlon also credits a public information campaign and increasing fire safety awareness across the state.

State Fire: Command of the State Fire was transferred to a Type 3 team Monday morning. It was 90 percent contained Tuesday and had burned 29,827 acres. Crews were focusing on interior hotspots and have begun rehab efforts.

Millville Fire: The fire that had been raging for a week was 65 percent contained and remained at 2,864 acres Tuesday night. Crews reported significant progress Tuesday as a helicopter began carrying equipment off the mountain. All restrictions to Blacksmith Fork Canyon, Millville Canyon and Left Hand Fork Canyon were lifted Tuesday.

Patch Springs Fire: The fire in Tooele County that burned eight trailer homes in Willow Springs and threatened the small town of Terra since it started Aug. 10 was 71 percent contained Tuesday. The lightning-caused fire burned 31,010 acres. The Clover Springs Campground remained closed but state Route 199 is open for public travel. Crews had been using the road as they fought the blaze. Local teams will take control of the fire Wednesday morning.

222 Fire: Crews gave their final update on this fire Tuesday, reporting full containment and preparing to hand control over to a local team for observation Wednesday morning. An estimated 1,576 acres have burned in the fire that began 15 miles south of Eureka in Juab County.

• Big Canyon Fire: Crews had not contained any of the 70-acre fire burning 30 miles north of Green River as of Tuesday but planned to hold and strengthen the Dilly Canyon fire line to keep it from spreading to the west. This fire began on Aug. 13.

• Grace Fire: This fire began July 16 in the Dixie National Forest, near Hells Backbone Bridge and Salt Gulch. Crews are daily watching and assessing the needs of the fire that has reached 249 acres. They will prevent the fire from spreading, but will not put resources toward extinguishing the fire. The fire is expected to burn for 30 or more days, according to fire officials.

Mount Elmer Fire: Burning since Aug. 9, this fire is about 264 acres wide. The fire is being watched, but no crews are on the scene because of higher-priority fires elsewhere.

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