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Human-caused East Canyon Fire burns over 800 acres in Morgan County

Posted at 1:41 PM, Jun 08, 2021

MORGAN COUNTY, Utah — A wildfire that began Tuesday morning just outside East Canyon State Park has quickly grown to 835 acres and is 90% contained

The last 10% of the fire that is not contained is located in thick vegetation. The fire remained in the perimeter Thursday with no significant issues during wind events.

Evacuations were ordered as the fire threatened ranch homes and power lines Tuesday. The evacuations were lifted on Wednesday afternoon.

Fire officials say two families were evacuated. Crews knocked on the doors of eight other cabins, but no one was inside.

East Canyon Fire

The East Canyon Fire began around 10:30 a.m. and grew rapidly due to heavy winds which pushed the fire up the canyon.

Swan Workman lives across Highway 66 from the fire. He said his brother and parents, who live in two different houses up the highway, had to evacuate quickly.

"We just got a bunch of really good friends here in the local community that just all drove up said, 'Hey we're here. What do you need?'" he said.

Workman said an elderly woman lives across the street, and is on oxygen. His first priority was going across the street to help her evacuate safely.

"I made sure she was packed up and ready to go," he recounted. "And once she was gone, then we came over and started working on my stuff."

Workman ended up not having to leave, but he had a bunch of personal belongings packed up in his truck just in case.

Meanwhile, 60 fire fighters from different agencies attacked the flames from the air and ground.

East Canyon Fire Map
East Canyon Fire

Fire managers said that the wind was blowing erratically, pushing the flames toward Highway 66, and then the other direction up the hill. They stopped the fire from jumping the highway-- keeping Swan's parents and brothers homes safe.

The Morgan County Fire Department said the fire behavior was typically what they would expect to see later in the fire season.

An investigation showed that a piece of heavy equipment hit a rock and started the fire. Workman said he noticed work crews show up Tuesday morning shortly before the fire started.

"It couldn't have been more than 20 minutes after they dropped off the second excavator, that it happened," he said.

He's grateful his family's property wasn't damaged. Workman watched two fixed-wing aircraft drop retardant on a hillside across the highway from his home.

"Now we just get to sit back and watch the show," he said.

Highway 66 is currently closed in both directions between East Canyon State Park and Redrock Canyon. All hiking trails in the area have also been closed.

East Canyon Fire

Two helicopters, two fixed-wing aircraft and two heavy air tankers responded, as well as three hot shot crews.

East Canyon Fire Helicopter.jpg
East Canyon Fire