At Least 34 Wildfires Broke Out In Box Elder County After Storm
SNOWVILLE, Utah – Firefighters in Box Elder County have had their hands full, after lightning strikes from Sunday’s storm ignited nearly three dozen wildfires.
“There was a lot of lightning activity,” said Jason Curry with Utah Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “It was just one after the other. Hundreds and hundreds of strikes.“
All firefighting resources throughout Box Elder County and surrounding counties jumped into action to battle at least 34 fires.
“It seems like everywhere there was a strike, there was a fire,” said Curry. “The 911 center was inundated with calls.”
Those fires were mostly burning in remote areas. It took about 36 hours to locate all of the fires and get firefighters on them, said Curry.
Two were not found until Tuesday afternoon, including the Prospect Springs fire south of Snowville that quickly burned 500 acres.
“We suspect that it ignited Sunday night and smoldered for a couple of days, and didn’t make itself known until (Tuesday) afternoon,“ he said.
Winds initially pushed the fire to the north, raising concerns near Interstate 84. Firefighters were able to keep the flames away.
“Yesterday it was 101° on the fire, quite a bit of wind. Today, (it’s) obviously much cooler. We’ve got humid air (and) a little bit of rain falling right now. So it’s looking a whole lot better,” said Curry.
Only eight of those Sunday night were still burning Wednesday. Officials hoped to cut that number in half by the end of the day.
So far, though, this wildfire season has been much less destructive than last year. The 2018 fire season was Utah’s most expensive all time, and one of the most devastating.
“This year is obviously greatly reduced, in terms of both number of starts and the acreage burned,“ said Curry.
Firefighters have responded to half the number of wildfires as last summer, and only one-tenth of the acreage burned.
Curry reminded that this season is far from over.
“Fire season is just getting going here in Utah,“ said Curry.
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