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Firefighter injured battling Salt Lake City grass fire

Posted at 12:50 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 20:02:07-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A firefighter was injured Friday while battling a small grass fire on a hill near the Utah State Capitol.

The fire burned less than one acre, and was quickly contained, but the firefighter had to be airlifted from the rocky hillside due to a minor knee injury.

Officials say the blaze started around noon and burned on a very steep hillside making conditions very difficult for first responders.

"Two steps forward one step back type of soil that we're dealing with today," said Capt. Tony Stowe with the Salt Lake City Fire Department. "Mix in to that some large rocks that were actually bouncing down towards other crews. It's quite treacherous."

The firefighter twisted his knee while working in the loose gravel and needed to be airlifted out to avoid further injury.

"The ground just slipped underneath him and as he was trying to catch himself, he twisted," Stowe added.

Stowe said that firefighter suffered only minor injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital to recover.

"It's great to have LifeFlight so close with the ability to pick someone off the side of the mountain," He said. "Especially on the Wasatch and all this urban interface we have in the hills above Salt Lake City."

It took crews a while to put out remaining hotspots, but Stowe said he is proud of how his crew responded to the challenge.

"We train for these things," he said. "We train for the unknown, we train for the unexpected and this is when firefighters shine. We're able to come together, accomplish the task at hand and protect our brothers and sisters."

Investigators are still determining the cause of the fire but said it did burn in a unique location on the hillside.