Couple cited for escaped campfire that started Gun Range Fire in Utah

Map Gun Range Fire
Map showing the approximate location of the Gun Range Fire using heat data from a satellite at 4:24 a.m. MDT August 30, 2019. The red line is the estimated perimeter.

A Utah couple has been cited by the U.S. Forest Service for having a campfire that escaped and started what became the 365-acre Gun Range Fire near Bountiful, Utah on August 30, 2019. The fire was named after the nearby Lions Club gun range.

KSL is reporting that the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed that Ashlyn Nelson and Jeremy Flores were issued a ticket for leaving a campfire without fully extinguishing it. Campfires, per se, were not illegal, but allowing it to escape and ignite a wildfire, of course, is.

The fire forced the evacuation of 400 homes and was fought by multiple hotshot crews, air tankers, and helicopters in addition to a large number of local firefighting resources.

Other fires that have occurred recently in the greater Salt Lake City area since July 17, 2019:

fires salt lake city area utah
The map shows the locations of some of the wildfires that occurred in the greater Salt Lake City area between July 17 and September 16, 2019.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

3 thoughts on “Couple cited for escaped campfire that started Gun Range Fire in Utah”

  1. It’s interesting that the names were released in this instance but not for the story you reported a day or so ago about the tannerite-caused fire. Kind of makes me wonder: who are they protecting?

    1. I know in my area it all depends on which agency is reporting to the media. BLM investigators and PIO’s don’t report names, yet the county and city entities have no problems doing so. It’s not about “protecting who” as any of that info is public info if you truly want to do the leg work to know. Why ruin someone’s life over poor judgement in the moment? Sinking someone in a media blitz, or essentially ensuring they’ll never be able to recover from a $2million fine is over the top and excessive. Houses grow back, things get replaced. Unless it’s gross negligence or intentional, let the individuals learn from their mistake, pay their restitution, and move on.

      1. I’m not sure I’d agree that taking the time to mix the ingredients, set up a target, load the gun and shoot at the target counts as “poor judgement in the moment”. The fires can cause major disruptions through evacuations, loss of homes and income, and even fatalities. Thinking your campfire is out when it isn’t is perhaps poor judgement and negligence. Blowing stuff up is intentional even if the setting on fire part isn’t.


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