200 Acre Fire Sparked During Training Exercise at Camp Williams
Jul 14, 2019, 9:17 PM | Updated: 10:32 pm
HERRIMAN, Utah – Winds fueled a fire at Camp Williams Sunday that grew to about 200 acres. The fire was one of the largest fires Camp Williams has had since a fire in 2010 burned down three homes and caused mass evacuations.
Camp Williams officials say firefighters were right on top of it but some nearby residents were worried, thinking about that massive fire from a decade ago.
“This is the first year that we’ve seen real regrowth,” said Eric Platt, a Herriman resident, as he pointed to a hillside directly behind his home. “This is basically where the fire just came down the mountain and started burning.”
Platt’s neighborhood didn’t even exist when the “machine gun fire” came down the hillside in 2010.
That fire burned thousands of acres and destroyed three homes. Nearly 5,000 people were evacuated.
The machine gun fire was sparked during a training exercise, just like Sunday’s fire.
“Here they were shooting a .50 caliber weapon and the round hit and sparked,” said Maj. Toby Adamson, Deputy Commander at Camp Williams.
Maj. Adamson says firefighters were on the fire immediately, but winds caused it to spread quickly, burning around 200 acres.
Fortunately, they got it under control within hours and before it did any damage to structures.
“We were prepared for it,” said Maj. Adamson. “We’ve done a lot of mitigation here at Camp Williams.”
He says Camp Williams took significant steps after the machine gun fire.
“It has greatly changed the way we fight fires,” he said.
They’ve cut fire breaks, there are new weather stations that tell them when they can safely train and they have a contingent of Unified Fire Authority firefighters right on base.
They say they never want to see something like the massive fire of 2010 happen again.
Neither do residents who live nearby.
“Obviously I know that they’re a lot more prepared from prior years,” said Platt. “You just never know where it’s going to start and how fast it’s going to burn.”
“We run a large training facility here at Camp Williams and have a lot of great neighbors, Eagle Mountain and Herriman,” said Maj. Adamson. “We want to play as a good neighbor to them.”