WILDFIRES

First Look At Origin Of Summit County Wildfire Caused By Arson

Sep 4, 2018, 2:02 PM | Updated: 2:04 pm

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – Investigators said arson is to blame for a Summit County wildfire that burned almost 600 acres in less than 24 hours.

Public Information Officer Leann Fox said the fire originated near a rest stop at mile marker 170 on I-80 eastbound, just past Coalville. It reportedly began at approximately 2 p.m. Monday.

Despite the proximity to the freeway, Fox said investigators found significant evidence this was not sparked from the road.

“Typically fires off of the road like this are caused by vehicles: malfunctions, flat tires, dragging chains,” she said. “But where this is an on-ramp, you aren’t traveling fast enough. It would have to be very specific conditions to start a wildfire from a vehicle at this spot in this location.”

The details of the evidence have not been released.

The freeway in the area heading eastbound was closed to one lane early Tuesday afternoon as firefighters focused on the fire’s south and west perimeter.

“This fire had to pull resources from other fires, aircraft, other crews that were on nearby fires to come and suppress this,” Fox said. “It impacts the landscape. It impacts traffic. We close one lane all for a reason that didn’t need to be there.”

Residents living in the Echo Creek Ranches area, about 4 miles away from the fire, are on a pre-evacuation order.

Fox said the type of fuels in the area burn quickly and burn out quickly.

Firefighters were hoping to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and relative humidity Tuesday morning to help battle the blaze.

However, firefighters and locals wouldn’t be worrying about the fire if not for the work of what investigators are calling an arsonist.

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First Look At Origin Of Summit County Wildfire Caused By Arson