WILDFIRES

Lakeside Fire Mostly Contained After Growing To Nearly 10,000 Acres

Sep 3, 2018, 5:47 PM | Updated: 9:27 pm

DELLE, Utah – Firefighters in Tooele County expected to have the Lakeside Fire 90 percent contained before the end of the Labor Day holiday, thanks to the help of firefighters from neighboring departments.

Officials said target shooters accidentally started the 9,900-acre blaze Saturday afternoon.

Tooele County Fire Warden Dan Walton said they were fortunate the fire did not get a lot bigger.

“We’re patrolling, monitoring, putting out any smoke where it’s accessible,” he said, as he and several firefighters lit some back-burns to eliminate fuels.

The Lakeside Fire grew very quickly over the holiday weekend and burned nearly 10,000 acres of shrubs and grasslands west of the Great Salt Lake. It was only smoldering Monday afternoon, and the county fire warden credits the state back-up system for their success.

“We had a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of people,” said Walton.

The North Tooele and Grantsville Fire Departments were on the initial attack. Firefighters from as far away as Provo, Wendover, and Bluffdale were called in to help.

Firefighters in Tooele County expected to have the Lakeside Fire 90 percent contained before the end of the Labor Day holiday, thanks to the help of firefighters from neighboring departments.

“It was absolutely critical,” said Walton. “With it being a holiday weekend, and kind of near the end of the fire season, we’re starting to see a drop in the availability of federal resources. So, to have those local firefighter department resources willing and available to assist. It was absolutely critical to have them out here to help us out.”

Even with all the additional help, with a fire burning so big there were still short on resources Monday.

“We’re still looking at only 15 firefighters for 10,000 acres,” said Walton.

They only had twice that number plus air support when the fire exploded to 4000 acres Sunday.

Investigators said the fire started from the spark of a target shooter’s bullet up against the mountains Saturday afternoon. The flames took off quickly in the dried grass.

Walton said the target shooters were shooting legally, but using illegal steel core ammunition, banned in this fire season in Utah. The BLM was handling that part of the investigation.

“When we got out here on scene there were still people here,” said Walton. “We got them to fill out some witness statements and got all their information.”

It was not clear if officials expected to file any charges.

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Lakeside Fire Mostly Contained After Growing To Nearly 10,000 Acres