Fire above Bountiful believed to be human caused; blaze 25% contained

Posted at 9:52 PM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-30 23:52:10-04

BOUNTIFUL, Utah -- A 75-acre wildfire burning near Bountiful is now 25 percent contained, but the fire will continue to burn for a couple of days, according to the Forest Service.

The Forest Service also said Wednesday that the blaze, sparked Tuesday evening, was human-caused.

It caused quite a scare for some families, when they were put on standby to evacuate.

Shawn Spriggs said he realized the blaze was burning in the hills near his home after his wife called him to say she could see smoke not far from where they lived.

"They were actually a lot closer than I expected," he said of the flames from Bountiful Summerwood Fire.

His family began to do what they could to protect their property.

"Started turning the sprinklers on the mountainside, and taking hoses up," Spriggs said.

They also wondered if they would have to leave their home.

"We started thinking about, 'Okay, what do we need to put together to evacuate at a moments notice? And then, what do we need to do to protect our home and our property?'" he recounted.

Spriggs said they later realized, "There's probably a lot more things that we could have done to prepare."

He and his neighbors live in the wildland urban interface, which is the space where development meets the wilderness.

Areas like that are especially at risk of getting caught in a wildfire, says the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

"The biggest threat to a home isn't necessarily the flame front, but it's the fire brands, the embers," said Jennifer Hansen, the State Wildland Interface Program Coordinator.

She said embers from a fire can travel up to a mile or more.

That's why she said people living in the interface should prepare their homes: outside and in.

"Remove the leaves from your rain gutters, remove branches that have fallen down around your home, remove that dead material," Hansen listed off.

She also said to make sure roof, siding and deck materials can stand up against fire.

As far as preparing the home inside, she said residents should be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice.

"Being ready to leave-- and so it's having all of your documentation, your medications," she suggested.

Thankfully, the Bountiful Summerwood Fire stayed away from homes, and the Forest Service said it is not posing a threat to houses in the area.

Kim Osborn with the Forest Service said around 50 fire fighters are working on the blaze from the air and ground.

"They're up on the hill building fire line, working with our helicopters with bucket drops on any hot spots," Osborn said.

For the Spriggs family, the fire served as a reminder for them to stay ready.

"Definitely needed to have an evacuation plan," Spriggs said.

Anyone who would like to see if they live in an at-risk area for wildfire can visit the Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal. 

You can learn how to protect your home from wildfire by visiting Utah Living with Fire.