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Avon Fire sparked at gun range near Liberty threatens ranch that offers high-end elk hunts

Posted at 10:08 PM, Aug 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-01 19:00:11-04

LIBERTY, Utah — A ranch owner is thankful the Avon Fire didn’t turn into a major disaster.

Garret Jones and his family own the Broadmouth Canyon Ranch.   

About 300 acres of their property burned in the fire.

“I’ve experienced quite a few, but this was the most intense,” Jones said of the fire.

Investigators say the fire was caused by a person at a shooting range located next to the ranch.

Jones believes the location of the range and the dry conditions make for a dangerous combination.

“There are plenty of ranges safer than this one that sits next to wild lands,” Jones said.  “Something needs to be done about it.  It’s not going to take much to make a huge disaster.”

In an email, the range stated it has "complied with every suggested change that the Weber Fire District has made and will continue to do so." Changes include widening fire lines and spraying the facility with herbicide to kill oak brush and grass.

The range added that it will be meeting with the Weber Fire District and State Land and Forestry to receive more advice this upcoming week. A post on the range’s Facebook page states it will be closed for two weeks because of extreme fire conditions.

Currently, the fire is 10-percent contained and isn’t threatening any homes or structures.

Jones hates to think about what could have happened if favorable winds hadn’t push the flames away from the ranch and other homes.

“Not just ours, but the whole community," Jones said. "A lot of these houses are built in this type of terrain with fields around them."

Investigators say they know who started the fire and that person may face charges and be on the hook to pay for the firefighting efforts.