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Fire crews battle blazes as wildfire season underway in Utah

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Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-08 23:56:10-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Northern Utah fire crews have been busy this week with several brush fires. Multiple agencies are currently working to put out a wildfire in Tooele County.

The fire in Tooele is burning near the Dugway Proving Grounds, an army facility, and it’s been named the Rough Haul Fire by officials. Officials said Sunday evening the fire has burned 5,000 acres and is 60 percent contained.

“Still some fire activity, the wind is picking up and making some hot spots apparent and we’re taking care of those,” said Jason Curry of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

Sunday, fire crews spent hours on the Rough Haul Fire at Dugway. No structures were threatened, but the dry, windy conditions called for a large response. Blackhawk helicopters were brought in to expand the attack.

“The season is picking up, as we saw over the weekend with these fires here in northern Utah the grasses are cured out, the brush is ready to burn, and its definitely fire season,” Curry said.

Fire crews in Tooele have seen quite a bit of action this week already. Wednesday, a portion of I-80 was temporarily shut down as crews worked to put out several brush fires there.

“We arrived and there were about 8 different spot fires on the fire ground, which is a little unusual,” said Ryan Willden with the North Tooele County Fire District.

Thursday, the flames were found north in Weber County. Fire crews in Riverdale had their hands full with two brush fires, the first came within feet of some homes, but was put out quickly.

“It was kind of a quick moving fire because of the conditions we had a bit of a breeze and then with this cottonwood seed floating in the air,” said Roger Bodily, who is the Chief of the Riverdale City Fire Department.

As soon as the flames were out, crews moved onto a 2-acre grass fire down by the river in Riverdale at a frisbee golf park.

It was a similar situation in Utah County Saturday. Firefighters from several agencies worked a 4-acre field fire near Eagle Mountain.

“We just wanted to make sure we had enough units to contain the fire and not let it get out of control. The winds were kicking up a little bit and we wanted to make sure we had enough to get the job done," said David Ulibarri with the Unified Fire Authority.

The Bureau of Land Management has already issued two public service announcements – one about target shooting safety and the other cautioning the use of fireworks. Anyone responsible for sparking a fire on public lands could be held responsible for the cost of putting it out.

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