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Fires keep crews busy overnight battling several small brush fires

Published: Thursday, July 5 2012 9:15 a.m. MDT

Children light fireworks in July 2007.
 (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Children light fireworks in July 2007. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Related: Photo gallery: Fires burn all across Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — It was a busy Wednesday night and Thursday morning for firefighters along the Wasatch Front who battled several small brush fires, most of them appearing to be human caused.

About 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, officials believe fireworks started a field fire behind a church near 2700 E. Fort Union Blvd. The fire actually started in an area where fireworks are legal and spread to an area where they are banned, said Unified Fire Authority Capt. Lee Ascarte.

Only a half-acre to an acre burned, but the fire came within 25 feet of a home in the Sanibel Cove area, 6920 South 2600 East, Ascarte said.

No structures were damaged and no one was injured. It took crews about 30 minutes to contain the fire. Cottonwood Heights police were looking Thursday for the person or people who started the fire.

Just before 1 a.m. Thursday, a fire was reported in the foothills east of Ensign Peak in Salt Lake.

Fortunately, the wind was calm in that area at the time, said Salt Lake Fire Battalion Chief Michael Andrew.

"We were very lucky on this one," he said.

The fire burned less than an acre. The tricky part, however, was accessibility. Three teams of four firefighters had to hike to the fire area, carrying backpacks that can carry three gallons of water and shovels.

The cause of the fire was under investigation Thursday. But Andrew said firefighters noticed a lot of people when they arrived.

"To our surprise, we had as many as 30 individuals coming out of these foothills," he said. "This appears to be a gathering spot."

Andrew said more people came out after firefighters arrived. He did not believe all of the people in the Ensign Peak area were connected. It's apparently just a place for different groups to gather, he said.

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