Stillwater Fire, Possibly Started By Target Shooters, Burns 40 Acres

Jun 13, 2020, 11:54 AM | Updated: Nov 2, 2022, 6:21 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — The Stillwater Fire burned about 40 acres near Saratoga Springs and officials said they believe it may have been started by target shooters.

Weather forecasters and fire managers had warned about Saturday’s heavy winds and dry conditions all week, as well as the potential for wildfires. 

But still, somebody didn’t listen. 

“We knew coming into this weekend that conditions were going to be windy,” said Jason Curry, fire public information officer for Utah’s Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands. “This is no joke.”

At about 11 a.m., Lake Mountain, which is on the west side of Saratoga Springs, started burning. 

Fire investigators named it the Stillwater Fire and said it looks like the result of someone’s target shooting.

It’s possible the shooters also used explosive targets, which are restricted in Saratoga Springs.

“The light fuels are so dry and we are trying to keep up as much as we can and on a day like today, where we’ve already had another four starts just here in northern Utah, we can very quickly get spread thin with that type of fire volume,” said Curry.

Firefighters got on this fire quickly, fighting it on the ground and in the air.

There was a helicopter doing water drops and airplanes dropping retardant.

The hope was to contain the flames and keep them away from nearby homes before the winds got even worse.

“It gets dry. It gets hot,” said Darel Boyer, who was hiking in the mountains near where the fire burned.

 Boyer said he didn’t see the shooters, but he saw the fire, and since there wasn’t any lightning, he figured it was human-caused.

“Fair to guess that people get careless and this is the natural result,” said Boyer.

Just a few hours after the fire started, fire crews had a containment line around it.

The flames burned nearly 100 acres but did not threaten any homes or structures.

“Collectively as a state, we will have spent probably near $100,000 just battling this fire,” said Chief Jess Campbell with the Saratoga Springs Fire Department. “It’s a little frustrating.”

Investigators said they are looking for the driver of an orange pickup truck that was seen in the area where the fire started at about the time it began.

Several crews were called in to fight the flames. Resources from the Bureau of Land Management, Utah County, Lehi and Eagle Mountain assisted the Saratoga Springs Fire Department.

“(It’s) more than just a little frustrating,” said Campbell, regarding target shooting on the west side of Utah Lake. “I’m not quite sure what needs to be done, but something’s gotta change.”

Wildfire west of Saratoga Springs. It’s called the Stillwater Fire.

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Saturday, June 13, 2020

The total acreage burned was updated after more accurate mapping and details were provided by fire officials.

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Stillwater Fire, Possibly Started By Target Shooters, Burns 40 Acres