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Explosions near Deer Creek cause alarm

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Posted at 10:29 PM, Sep 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-16 00:29:11-04

UTAH COUNTY -- Some people thought it was a plane crash; others thought maybe an explosion – but they knew for sure a series of loud booms and smoke could be witnessed coming from Cascade Springs Sunday afternoon.

"I heard a big boom and we weren't quite sure what it was and I was out here with my horses and they got spooked and we were like, ‘what the heck is going on,’" said Baily Barnes.

Barnes, and her sister, Mckenzie Mounteer, were in their Charleston front yard, preparing to ride their horses, when they heard the detonation.

"The boom was pretty loud, to where it made him kind of jump and the other horse jump, and as I was getting the saddle on him he pulled away so I missed the horse with my saddle," Mounteer said.

The sisters were among a number of people living or camping near Deer Creek Reservoir to hear the booms. Some people even reported smoke coming from the Cascade Springs area.

"It made me nervous because I didn't know what was going on and obviously it made my horses nervous because they were freaking out because they didn't know what was going on and it sounded like a big firework," Barnes said.

Barnes was right.

The booms were caused by explosives, which were being purposely set off by the U.S. Forest Service along the East Ridge Hill Trail. The Forest Service is making new trail space for hikers and bikers.

"Usually pretty loud, puts up some smoke, without a doubt some dust and debris," said Jon Stansfield, of the U.S. Forest Service.

The Forest Service admits they forgot to tell Wasatch and Utah Counties as well as the public that these blasts would be taking place.

"We just did not go through our protocol and let them know what we are doing," Stansfield said. "On behalf of the Pleasant Grove Ranger District I just want to apologize to the public and to our valued interagency partners in Wasatch and Utah counties."

As a result, search and rescue crews from both counties converged on the Cascade Springs area, in belief there was a potential emergency.

"It's really unfortunate when the lack of communication on our part led to the dispatch of personnel in what equivocated to be a false alarm," Stansfield said. "Again, just one of those shake-your-head type moments."

"They can do everything else pretty well but this is one thing they definitely messed up on," Mounteer said.

The U.S. Forest Service said they will continue to clear away new trails throughout the week and the public should be prepared for more blasts.