Range Fire at Orem, UT started from target shooting at police gun range

October 19, 2020   |   2:58 p.m. MDT

Range Fire
A DC-10 drops retardant on the Range Fire at Orem, Utah October 18, 2020. Photo by @bleewilliamson

Investigators have determined that the 3,450-acre Range Fire at Orem, Utah was started by target shooting at the police department’s gun range on the east side of the city. The police officer who was present is cooperating with investigators.

Range Fire origin

From the Incident Management Team, Monday, October 19, 2020:

“Fire activity on the Range Fire was minimal overnight, growth was significantly slowed by natural features. Firefighters completed a successful burn out operation last night to secure the southeast corner of the fire. Today, firefighters will be constructing hand line directly along the western perimeter of the fire. Crews will continue to mop up along the heel of the fire. Aircraft will assist ground resources by dropping water on hot spots as needed in areas where the terrain is too steep for firefighters to safely access.”

Resources assigned include 6 hand crews, 14 fire engines, and 6 helicopters for a total of 150 personnel. The estimated cost to date is $300,000.

Range Fire, Oct. 18, 2020 Orem Utah
Range Fire, Oct. 18, 2020. Photo by @tomigotchiii

Chaos on Interstate 15 as wildfire snarls traffic in Utah

Cottonwood Trail Fire
The view from inside a car trapped in a traffic jam caused by the Cottonwood Trail Fire. Screenshot from video by Griffin Hunt.

A wildfire that spread across Interstate 15 prompted evacuations and caused a massive traffic jam as motorists drove within feet of a rapidly spreading fire nine miles northeast of St George, Utah Sunday.

The Cottonwood Trail Fire started about 3 p.m. on the west side of the Interstate and burned across the four-lane divided highway blackening 3,000 acres before being stopped by firefighters on the ground and in the air. Resources assigned included three large air tankers, four helicopters, and 30 fire engines.

Cottonwood Trail Fire map
Map showing the location of the Cottonwood Trail Fire at 3:18 p.m. MDT July 19, 2020.

Both northbound and southbound lanes were eventually closed temporarily due to the fire, but perhaps a little too late. All evacuations have been lifted. A Type 3 Incident Management Team was slated to assume command of the fire Monday morning.

Videos showed traffic at times stopped or slowed to a crawl as the fire burned intensely near vehicles. Some were abandoned and the passengers rescued by others.

The video below by Griffin Hunt shows the chaos as vehicles inched past flames and became trapped in the traffic jam, with some turning around on Interstate 15. David Hunt posted the video, saying, “We were driving back from a wrestling tournament and got caught by fire. The other group that was with us had to abandon their vehicle and it burned to the ground. Here’s a video my son  took.”

Sheriff’s Deputy honored for saving lives during a wildfire in Utah

Two people running from a fire were rescued by the Deputy

Knolls Fire rescue
The truck that ignited and started a new fire near the Knolls Fire in Utah County, Utah south of Provo June 28, 2020. Screenshot from video by Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

A Sheriff’s deputy was honored Wednesday for saving the lives of two people who were threatened by a fire that ignited when their truck got stuck near the Knolls Fire south of Provo, Utah.

On June 28, 2020 at about 9 p.m. Utah County Deputy Sheriff John Thomas saw the new fire and two people running from it. One was badly burned and was flown to a hospital after being rescued by Deputy Thomas.

It turns out that during an attempt to cut a fence to bypass a road closed by the Knolls Fire, their truck got stuck and leaked gas which ignited and started the fire south of Saratoga Springs on State Road 68.

Deputy Thomas saved their lives.

The video provides more details. Footage of the incident begins at about 1:20.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bill. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

And speaking of rescues on a wildfire, here is another one:

Three large wildfires in southwest Utah

wildfires in southwest Utah
Fires in southwest Utah. Data from fixed wing mapping flights around 8 p.m. MDT July 14, 2020.

Three large wildfires are burning in southwest Utah.

At least one home has burned in the 2,618-acre Veyo West Fire which is very close to Veyo, Utah and 18 miles northwest of St George, Utah.

BAe-146 drops on the Turkey Farm Road Fire
A BAe-146 air tanker drops on the Turkey Farm Road Fire. @UtahWildfire photo.

The Turkey Farm Road Fire was very active Tuesday and was mapped at 11,993 acres Tuesday night. A Type 2 Incident Management Team has been mobilized. The fire is 3 miles north of St George.

Law enforcement officials are asking for help in identifying the individuals who started the fire with fireworks.

Turkey Farm Road fire

The 4,000-acre Big Summit Fire started July 13 about 17 miles northeast of Panaca, Nevada and burned into Utah. It is 10 miles north of Modena, Utah and 61 miles northwest of St George, Utah. No structures have burned in either state.  Evacuations were in effect July 14.

Fireworks spark wildfire and force evacuations at Lehi, Utah

Near Traverse Mountain south of Salt Lake City

Traverse Fire
Traverse Fire at Lehi, Utah caused by fireworks. Photo by Justin Reeves June 28, 2020.

A person using fireworks ignited a wildfire south of Salt Lake City, Utah that led to evacuations north of Lehi.

The Traverse Fire was reported around 12 p.m. Saturday and quickly grew onto Traverse Mountain. Notices from Lehi Community Emergency Response around 3 a.m. Sunday said several areas near the mountain were ordered to evacuate: “Any homes one quarter mile radius from Vialetto Way to Annuvolato Way evacuate, also Autumn Hills Blvd and Spring View Lane.” In Draper city the Maple Hollow neighborhood was ordered to evacuate at about 5 a.m. Sunday.

Traverse Fire
Aerial photo of the Traverse Fire Sunday morning, June 28 via @UtahWildfire. It burned up to the back yards of 23 homes in a new subdivision on West Autumn Hills Blvd.

The fire burned up to the back yards of 23 homes in a new subdivision on West Autumn Hills Blvd.

Traverse Fire map
Map showing the approximate location of the Traverse Fire on the north side of Lehi, Utah.

At 11:55 a.m. Sunday Utah Fire Info reported that the Traverse Fire had been mapped at 450 acres. Evacuations were still in effect but “will be reassessed after the anticipated, strong wind event in the forecast has passed.” A current Red Flag Warning for the area is due to low humidity and 20 mph winds gusting over 40 mph through the afternoon. There is a good chance of rain after 3 p.m. Sunday.

Traverse Fire fireworks

Traverse Fire
Traverse Fire at Lehi, Utah caused by fireworks. Photo by Justin Reeves June 28, 2020.

The National Park Service and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem are planning a fireworks extravaganza over the pine forest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial July 3, 2020.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Rick. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Testing a new fire model during a crowning prescribed fire

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Above: Screenshot from the NASA video below about fire spread model research during a prescribed fire in Utah, June, 2019.

U.S. Forest Service scientists and others with the interagency Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment, or FASMEE, teamed up with the Fishlake National Forest to study a  prescribed fire from start to finish.

After months of planning and preparation, fire crews ignited more than 2,000 acres of Utah forest in an effort to consume living upper canopy vegetation and initiate growth of new vegetation. This June 2019 prescribed fire was designed to restore aspen ecosystems by removing conifer trees and stimulating the regrowth of aspen.

Researchers at the Pacific Northwest Research Station and Rocky Mountain Research Station, as well as other FASMEE participants, saw the fire as a unique opportunity for study.

During the event a fire model used for forecasting where and how a fire will move was put to the test. Adam Kochanski of the University of Utah used the opportunity to test the fire model known WRF-SFIRE.

WRF-SFIRE is a collaborative effort of NASA-funded teams from CU Denver, University of Utah, and Colorado State University. The project is led by Jan Mandel, Adam Kochanski and Kyle Hilburn.

The video below provides more details about the project and the test of the new fire model.

research fire model wildfire
Screenshot from the NASA video.