Fire crews under the direction of the Interagency Fire Center in Salt Lake City, including a firefighting team from the Utah State Prison, left for Cedar City Tuesday morning to help fight a 700-acre fire that had been started by lightning in Zion National Park.
The fire began June 19 after the area was struck by lightning. Fire officials allowed the fire to burn in order to get rid of excessive brush that had built up over many years. However, unexpected 60-mph winds that began Saturday forced firefighters to begin containing the fire after it began to move into a fire-restricted area.The crews dispatched included the support team for a 200-man equipment trailer, an overhead team and the prison's five-truck, 15-crew member Flamin' Goes Strike Team, said Pete Hansen, Interagency Fire Center manager.
Hansen said two Monday evening fires, one in Salt Lake and one near Tooele, kept crews busy until midnight.
Officials blamed fireworks for a grass fire that burned five acres of watershed area near the mouth of City Creek Canyon. Firefighters from Salt Lake City and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the fire at about 9 p.m. and had the burning grass and brush extinguished in about an hour, Hansen said.
The cause of a 20-acre fire near Stillwater Reservoir in Tooele County Monday night had not been determined Tuesday morning. It started about 10:45 p.m. and was controlled about midnight, Hansen said.
More than 400 grass fires were reported in Salt Lake County between Monday and daybreak Tuesday, most of the blazes blamed on fireworks or children playing outside with matches, according to dispatchers.
County fire dispatchers logged 327 calls Monday before midnight and took calls on another 60 between midnight and 4 a.m. Tuesday. West Jordan, which dispatches its own fire-fighters, logged another 13, pushing the total number of calls county-wide over 400.
No structure damage or injuries were reported.