Crews fight 2 wildfires in one week in Uintah Basin

Jun 1, 2018, 11:01 PM | Updated: 11:03 pm

VERNAL, Utah – Wildfire season has begun and in the Uintah Basin, residents there have seen two fires in one week.

Friday’s fire, the Dry Creek Settlement fire forced evacuations. Residents were allowed back into their homes at about 7 p.m.

Two of the biggest problems fire crews faced were high winds and dry vegetation. However, there was one thing that helped them out quite a bit.

Wind is nothing new in the Basin, but two fires in one week can give even the most hardened fire boss cause for concern.

“Normally, without the winds we would have had a half acre fire, but these were 20 to 30 mile per hour winds, pushing it,” said Jeremy Raymond with Uintah Fire District.

Though, the Dry Creek Settlement fire could have been much worse, there’s no doubt it caught everyone’s attention.

“Our crews immediately went up and started evacuating people,” Raymond said.

For residents living right in the fire’s path, it’s pretty scary no matter your age.

“We looked over there and we saw giant smoke coming up, and we said, ‘that’s pretty close to our house,’” said 9-year-old, Cole Mixon.

A community meeting regarding fire safety was already planned even before Friday’s fire broke out.

Some community members weren’t planning to attend, but Friday’s evacuations made them change their minds.

“We learned just things to think about that’s around our houses that we usually don’t even consider,” resident Maryann Spainhower said.

The kids learned a thing or two as well.

“They brought out Smokey the Bear to make kids feel safe too,” Spainhower said.

“Well, at least it didn’t get us,” Mixon said. “It was pretty scary, but I’m happy now.”

‘Happy’ isn’t usually a word someone would use when talking about two fires in one week, but for fire crews, they had a couple more words to add as well.

“Lucky and blessed,” Raymond said. “We held the crews in town (from last week’s fire) and our dispatch had the foresight to think let’s keep people here just in case.”

Because all those fire crews were still in Vernal, no structures were burned and no injuries were reported.

“We were just really blessed to have those crews nearby,” Raymond said.

Related: Firefighters anticipate likely busy fire season

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Crews fight 2 wildfires in one week in Uintah Basin