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Firefighters contain Logan Canyon fire

August 22nd, 2010 Posted in Opinion

Story & Photos by Caresa Alexander

LOGAN CANYON—A forest fire in the mountains above Second Dam in Logan Canyon was reported 100 percent contained at 6 p.m. Tuesday according to a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman.

Kathy Jo Pollock, information officer for the Uintah, Wasatch, and Cache National Forest, said a line around the acre fire was still burning in flammable material like grass and dead leaves, trees and pine needles. Pollock said only about a quarter of an acre is black from the fire, and that crews will continue to work to extinguish the fire.

“We probably won’t call it controlled for a few days,” Pollock said. “That means nothing will come out of that line, if we have a strong wind or something, a spark won’t come out of that line. It is usually a few days or better before we ever call it controlled.”

Weather, temperatures and humidity will determine when the fire will be called controlled.

“It may be a while and they may not even call it out until it gets enough precipitation on it to make sure it is out,” Pollock said.

On Wednesday, the Logan Hot Shots and one fire-fighting helicopter will be doing what Pollock called a “mop up” of hot spots or smoke that is within the line. The helicopter will shuttle crews and supplies to the mountain. It is possible that the helicopter may deploy its 90-gallon water bucket on the fire, Pollock said, and there are also blivits available—large water containers that can be airlifted to the mountain and sit on the hill for the fire crew to use with hoses.

The fire, which was reported about 6 a.m. Monday, was started by a lightning strike, Pollock said, that could have happened days before it ignited.

The Logan Hot Shots, the Logan Fire Department and Cache County all responded to the fire on Monday, according to Pollock.

Two helicopters also responded Monday. Mike Hansen, a helicopter manager for the U.S. Forest Service, said an AStar B2 and a Bell 212 helicopter were dispatched from the Mountain Green base in Morgan County. These helicopters buckets drew water from Third Dam and dumped it on the fire. Pollock said one helicopter was a forest helicopter and the other was called a national ship, which means it can go anywhere nationally.

Authorities posted signs requesting motorist to not stop or park along U.S. Highway 89 near Zanavoo Lodge and again near Third Dam.

“We had the helicopter dipping out of Third Dam,” Pollock said. “People were pulling off the highway, not in pullouts or anything, just parking alongside the road. There is a lot of traffic on the road. People really shouldn’t stop to look, unless they were pulling off in a valid turn out.”

There have been around 350 fires reported in the state of Utah this year, Pollock said. Two weeks ago, the year-to-date report was around 3,000 acres burned as a result of human- or lightning-caused fires. The report includes the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, state land and private land.

Pollock said the fire season this year is fairly quiet and she hopes it stays that way.

Some years, fire restrictions are already in place before the 4th of July. Pollock said this year’s snowpack took so long to melt that forests were still damp and there were still no statewide fire restrictions in place at the end of July.

“People really need to make sure their camp fires are cold to the touch before they leave,” Pollock said.

She said open fires are not allowed outside developed campsites where the state has provided a fire ring. Another thing to remember is that fireworks are not allowed in national forests or on public lands.


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