Investigators suspect fireworks caused Evanston grass fire that forced evacuation

Jul 4, 2018, 11:56 PM

EVANSTON, WYOMING – A grass fire quickly spread across 75 acres Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of 100 homes and leading to the cancellation of the city’s Fourth of July display.

“I thought for sure we were losing homes today,” said Uinta County Fire Warden Eric Quinney.

Instead, Quinney said, wind direction changed and crews were able to get the upper hand on the fire as it started to reach the backyards of several houses.

Investigators initially believed the fire was firework-related, Quinney said.

The blaze started just after 3 p.m. and quickly spread west to east, raging over a hillside.

“(It’s) not what we wanted to see from our balcony,” Cami Mueller said from her deck, which sat well below the fire line.

It was a more harrowing experience for Tib Ottley, who — along with his wife — was forced to evacuate from their home above Troy Ct.

“They said that the flames were actually coming over the top of this deck,” Ottley said. “One of the fire guys told me to go buy a lottery ticket — we were that lucky.”

Quinney said because of the fire, the city did not go forward with its yearly firework display.

“We put a full ban on fireworks in the city of Evanston to start,” he said, noting that Uinta County was also going to be subject to a fireworks ban.

By 7:30 p.m., Quinney said the fire was under control and crews were mopping up hot spots.

Ottley said he was grateful to firefighters for their hard work that kept the flames away from his house.

“This could have been devastating,” Ottley said. “It could have been devastating.”

Mueller said while it was disappointing there were no fireworks, the ban was understandable.

“It’s better to be safe because it is so dry, and if they can’t be safe with the fireworks, then yeah, ban them,” Mueller said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


(Uinta-Wasatch-Cache NF/Twitter)...
Cary Schwanitz

South Fork fire 50% contained

Fire managers said the South Fork Fire burning in Provo Canyon south of Vivian Park was 50% contained Tuesday.
8 days ago
(Uinta-Wasatch-Cache NF/Twitter)...
Madison Swenson

Fire crews work to extinguish blaze in Provo Canyon

Multiple agencies are responding to a new wildfire that broke out Monday afternoon in Provo Canyon.
9 days ago
A school classroom with chairs and desks...
Brooke Williams

Project to provide air purifiers in Utah K-12 classrooms

Cleaner air improves student performance, decreases COVID transmission and school absenteeism. New project provides air purifiers for classrooms in Utah.
14 days ago
Firefighters use aircraft to battle a wildfire south of Salem, Oregon, on September 9. (Andrew Sels...
Amir Vera and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Smoke from the Mosquito Fire begins creating unhealthy to hazardous conditions in northern California

A wall of smoke from the Mosquito Fire in the Sierra Nevada mountains is creating hazardous conditions in Northern California, choking the air with smoke as strong winds complicate firefighting efforts.
16 days ago
smoke settling in rocky mountains...
Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Air quality worsens as 94 fires burn across Western US, Kay weakens

There are currently 94 large, active fires burning across eight states in the West, threatening local air quality.
17 days ago
Smoky skies in the Salt Lake valley seen from the Huntsman Center. (Photo by Alexis Williams)...
MORGAN LEE Associated Pres

US restarts burns of forest fuel, paused after runaway blaze

The U.S. government is resuming prescribed burning of National Forest lands across the nation to clear brush and small trees after a three-month pause to review and respond to climate change and risks of runaway wildfires.
18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
Investigators suspect fireworks caused Evanston grass fire that forced evacuation