Wildfire forces evacuations, power outages near Ogden Canyon

Sunday , July 20, 2014 - 3:31 PM

BZ 071914 Ogden Canyon Fire 07-1

Crews battle a wildfire near the mouth of Ogden Canyon on Saturday night, July 19, 2014. (BENJAMIN...

OGDEN - A wildfire forced voluntary evacuations near the mouth of Ogden Canyon by Saturday evening.

Ogden City firefighters made evacuation notifications to homes east of Buchanan Ave from 1850 S. to 22nd Street.

The fire began around 8 p.m. above the 21st Street Trailhead, according to Ogden City Fire Department.

As of 9 p.m., the fire had burned about three acres of land and flared up throughout the evening. 

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By midnight the wildfire had rapidly spread to homes above 22nd Street prompting Rocky Mountain Power to observe the area and possible power line concerns.

The American Red Cross was on scene with firefighters helping evacuees who went to an LDS church at 1550 Rushton Street, if they didn’t have anywhere else to go.

Firefighters closed the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and Indian Trail for access to the fire.

No structures were threatened at the time of the blaze and evacuations were just precautionary. 

Fire officials said Sunday morning that residents were advised there is no longer a threat to homes. The fire has died down and is now up against the cliff above 22nd Street. Fire officials are continuing to monitor the blaze to make sure it doesn’t turn south or west.

At one point during the night more than 10,000 residents were without power, however, by 8 a.m., Sunday, the power was restored and Rocky Mountain Power reported no large-scale outages. 

 

 

Cimaron Neugebauer contributed to this story.

 

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Morgan wildfire grows, threatens I-84

Wednesday , July 23, 2014 - 5:24 AM

Standard-Examiner staff

MORGAN - It has been a bad couple of days for firefighters battling the Tunnel Hollow Fire in Morgan County. 

Starting around 200 acres on Monday, winds picked up and spread the fire to nearly 1,000 acres by Tuesday, said Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands spokesman Jason Curry.

The fire, which began Sunday night, is thought to have been caused by a lightning strike. The fire is located near the area of Taggart Lane, a few miles east of Morgan. 

Curry said ground and air units were being deployed to suppress the fire’s movement. Their main concern was the fire moving toward Interstate 84 and spreading to the other side. The fire was already up against the adjacent train tracks.

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Motorists should expect delays and potential closures as smoke fills the area and fire vehicles will need access to the encroaching fire, Curry said. Drivers should use caution or avoid the route altogether.

The state Division of Forestry is also closing the Weber River for recreation such as fishing and rafting. 

Nearby, the Indian Fire located at the mouth of Ogden Canyon was nearly 100 percent contained. 

The U.S. Forest Service announced that it would be releasing all resources except for one fire engine which will monitor the fire until it is completely out. All the adjacent hiking trails that were closed such as the Bonneville Shoreline Trail were to be reopened Tuesday.

Although the fire was nearly out, the Ogden Fire Department warned that the danger of more fires is still present. 

“All fireworks and open flames are restricted east of Harrison Boulevard and along the Ogden River Parkway,“ said Ogden Fire Marshal Kevin Brown in a statement. “Patrols and enforcement of the areas will be increased for the holiday period. The fire department asks for your cooperation in order for everyone to have a safe and fun 24th.”

Elsewhere in the state, multiple fire agencies were battling several wildfires in Tooele County, most believed to be started by lightning.

The largest is the Anaconda Fire which had burned 1,000 acres just east of Tooele. 

Contact reporter Andreas Rivera at 801-625-4227 or arivera@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @SE_Andreas.

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Ogden wildfire: 'I will make sure nothing happens'

Monday , July 21, 2014 - 10:31 AM

Standard-Examiner staff

OGDEN — 81-year-old Charlene Terkelson wasn't about to leave the home she raised her children in. A fire may have been raging on the mountain side a stone's throw away, but she was resolute.

"I said ’I'm not leaving, I'm going down with this house,’" Terkelson said, recounting her close brush with a Saturday night wildfire, known as the Indian Fire, that torched 50 acres near the mouth of Ogden Canyon and threatened nearby homes.

By about 11:30 p.m. Terkelson was convinced by fire crews who promised she wouldn't lose her home, which sits on the corner of 21st Street and 1850 East. In fact, one of them personally guaranteed it would still be there when she came back.

"He promised her, 'I will park this fire truck in the back of your house and make sure nothing happens,'" said Terkelson's daughter, Gail Terkelson Beazley, growing emotional.

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Beazley and her mother then fled the blaze with the help of three police officers who carried out Terkelson's oxygen machine, her medicine and other necessities.

"We were holding things over our mouth, embers were hitting us in the face. ... All we could see were the flames going up," Beazley said. "They were so calm and ... just as sweet as can be."

Beazley considers the firefighters and officers who helped her to be the family's "angels." She didn't get a chance to ask them where they were from in the chaos, but thinks they were responding with Ogden units.

Crews from the Bureau of Land Management, Weber Fire District, Ogden City Fire Department, Mountain Green Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service and Utah’s State Forester variously fought the fire Saturday and Sunday. By about 6 p.m. Sunday, the fire was 70 percent contained, but as many as 65 firefighters are expected to fight smoldering hot spots again on Monday.

"Their body language just tells you they are tired," Beazley said commenting how dedicated firefighters have been. "They have been relentless fighting this. I just wanted to give them a hug."

The wildfire, which left 10,000 Ogden residents without power and caused about 20 homes to be evacuated, resulted from human activity said U.S. Forest Service spokespoerson Kim Osborn. 

There was no lightning activity near the Indian and Bonneville Shoreline trails Saturday, Osborn said, and officials have ruled out weather-related causes. Foul play is a possibility, but investigators are still looking for physical evidence of what specifically started the fire. No campfire materials or discarded cigarettes were reported found as of Sunday evening.  

According to the Ogden City Fire Department, the fire began around 8 p.m. at 1999 Canyon Road and by 9 p.m. had burned about three acres of land above the 21st Street trail head. It continued to flare up throughout the evening and by midnight had rapidly spread to an area above 22nd Street. As the night wore on, strong gusty cross winds near the canyon made putting out the fire difficult as it spread primarily over steep, rocky terrain. The Forest Service initially estimated about 30 acres were affected, but a GPS calculation Sunday indicated the larger 50 acre figure. 

The un-contained portion of the fire is expected to be mitigated without incident and Osborn said she doesn't expect the fire to spread any further. 

"It’s most likely not going to grow,“ she said. ”The conditions aren't right for that to happen.“

Helicopters utilized by BLM and Mountain Green are going a long way to minimizing the fire’s risk, according to Osborn.

Most of the residents affected by the evacuation lived on Buchanan Ave from 1850 S. to 22nd Street. No structures were reported damaged in the blaze, but Rocky Mountain Power shut off power lines near the blaze as a precaution. 10,000 Ogden residents were left without power until at least 3 a.m., Osborn said.

No road or trail closures are currently in effect, but firefighter and public safety officials are asking the public not to use the Bonneville Shoreline Trail from 12th Street South to Waterfall Canyon as crews continue to work.

The American Red Cross was on scene with firefighters helping evacuees who went to an LDS church building at 1550 Rushton Street, if they didn't have anywhere else to go.

"Crews were successful with their suppression and no homes were threatened,“ said Ogden Fire Deputy Chief Eric Bauman on Sunday.

All fire crews from Ogden City Fire left the scene around 4 a.m., while crews from the forest service stayed as command over the fire since it was outside of city limits. 

Ogden City Councilman Doug Stephens was at the base of the affected trails Sunday surveying the damage.  

”A lot of people use the trails up here. It’s used by residents quite extensively. It’s one of the city’s assets,“ Stephens told the Standard-Examiner. ”It’s too bad this happened. Hopefully they’ll be able to resolve (the fire) and find who did it.“

More homes could have been damaged or even destroyed if the winds were blowing the other direction, Stephens added.

”It would have been a real disaster for us,“ he said. 

Ogden resident Goldie Wayment was also observing the scene Sunday. It was disheartening to see the area burned over, she said.

”I do a lot of stuff up there,“ she said. ”I don’t like fire and I really don’t like fire up on my beautiful mountains.“

Contact reporter Ben Lockhart at 801-625-4221 or blockhart@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @SE_Lockhart. Like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/blockhartSE. 

Reporters Cimaron Neugebauer, Liam De Burca and Andreas Rivera contributed to this story.  

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