A lucky break likely saved several homes from the wrath of the City Creek Canyon fire.
Had the winds changed, or had the fire started at a different point on the mountainous slope, the fire likely would have diverted toward several homes, Unified Fire Authority officials said.
But the odds don't always work out in favor of homeowners, and that's what scares UFA Deputy Fire Chief Michael Jensen the most.
"These fires scare me to death," Jensen said. "One of these days we are going to lose a ton of homes. That's not going to be a good day."
He's talking about "wildland urban interface fires," where wildfires can spread to homes, and house fires can spread into wild areas.
The 130-acre City Creek Canyon fire is expected to be fully contained by this weekend.
"That fire could have been bad," assistant chief Mike Watson said. "We're just lucky the winds were favorable and didn't push the fire back toward us."
But the winds won't always change. That's why the UFA is preparing for the worst.
Every firefighter at the UFA is trained to battle both structure fires and wildfires. And the UFA is finalizing a $33 million bond to build new fire stations across the valley. The money will be used to build five new stations and purchase land for two others.
That's in addition to two fire stations under construction in Emigration Canyon and in the SunCrest development in Draper.
New stations will be built at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, as well as in Magna, Herriman, Millcreek and on 2300 E. 3300 South. Every station will be equipped to deal with fires that could spread from wildlands to urban areas."One of the reasons we've placed them where we have is so we can try to get specialized equipment, wildland engines and brush truck or auxiliary fire engines that we can get people there quickly, get the forestry hose out and try to knock the fire down before it gets big," Jensen said.
E-mail: [email protected]