Crews use helitorch to carry out prescribed burns in Utah

Posted at 10:06 PM, Jun 12, 2014

CARBON COUNTY, Utah -- Flames up to 200 feet high roared over the mountains of Carbon County on Thursday; the Utah Division of Forestry and several other entities are conducting a series of prescribed burns for the next few days, and they're starting those fires with a helicopter torch.

"The tool we're using this year is a helitorch, and it's a torch that drips liquid fluid out of it into the grounds of the trees and we're doing that so we can get the kind of fire we want," said Jason Johnson, Area Manager for the Southeast area division of Forestry and State Lands.

The goal of the prescribed burns is to improve conditions for wildlife and to prevent damages from wildfires in the future.

"A lot of folks think thick heavy forest is healthy, when in actuality it's really unhealthy, there's competition for food and water," said Steve Rutter, the project's Burn Boss. "We're lighting and controlling a fire on our terms instead of trying to put it out on the fire's terms."

The price tag for the project is more than $300,000. Crews will be on the mountain for the next several weeks working on the area.