Evacuation orders lifted after fires near Strawberry Reservoir become more contained

Posted at 3:14 PM, Oct 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-23 21:19:43-04

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah -Sunday evening, three grass fires burned the mountainside east of Strawberry Reservoir in Wasatch County.

About four or five hunting camps at Trout Creek and about four or five cabin owners at Soldier Creek were forced to evacuate. The Soldier Creek fire is about four miles east of the Trout Creek fire.

"[Sunday] night it was difficult just because of the wind and trying to keep it from crossing Highway 40," said fire information officer Kathy Jo Pollock for the Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest.

One fire was put out quickly, but the other two continued to burn. Crews were still working to put those two out Monday. Fortunately, conditions were more favorable.

“The winds have not been a real problem today so crews have been able to go in and secure the edge of the fire line and take care of or extinguish any hot spots that are within the interior, close to that line," Pollock said.

As of noon Monday, the 260-acre Trout Creek fire was 20 percent contained. The 143-acre Soldier Creek fire was 40 percent contained, allowing for evacuations to be lifted.

Investigators are expected to release their findings into the cause of the fire in a few days to a week. Pollock said they do know the two fires started somewhere near the highway.

Pollock said they expect warm, dry weather in the forecast for the next week, so another grass fire could easily start. Help from the public, Pollock said, is important.

“It would be really nice though if hunters and the other recreationists who are out this week and weekend please make sure that they put their campfires out. Make sure they’re cold to the touch," she said.

Crews will not leave the area until everything is under control, and any hot spots will only be left if they are far back into the mountains.

Power lines were damaged in the fire. The power company was out Monday working to restore power, which Pollock anticipates to be "soon."

Lt. Janet Carson with Wasatch County Fire Protection said crews worked to track down hunters that were in the area, and escorted them to safety.

"Second day of the big deer hunt, which is probably one of the biggest camping days of the whole year," Carson said. "Wasatch County is inundated with hunters."