CENTERVILLE -- Following a fire that consumed a 2009 Jeep Wrangler last week, police are asking residents to be careful and to obey laws concerning the use of public lands on the East Bench of Centerville.
The area below Viewmont High School's "V" is referred to as "The Bowl" or "The Dike," said Centerville Police Lt. Paul Child.
The bowl area was built many years ago as a retention basin to prevent flooding caused by overgrazing on the mountainside, Child said. Now the area is stable with vegetation and serves as a recreation area for hikers, bicyclists and off-highway vehicles.
Only certain areas are designated for use by off-highway vehicles, and signs indicating those areas are posted, Child said. There are no other public lands on the Wasatch Front in Davis or Salt Lake counties open for use by off-highway vehicles.
There are ponds in one designated area, which has become popular with off-road vehicle enthusiasts wanting to see if they can drive through without getting stuck. That is what happened Saturday with the Jeep, Child said.
The Jeep got stuck, and "while spinning the wheels, the Jeep caught on fire and burned completely," he said.
"It was legal for the driver to be there, but everyone needs to be careful."
Child said others, though, are ignoring the signs and cutting trails where there are none and damaging the plants, which will cause erosion problems this spring.
Centerville City Park staff, along with the police department, have worked with Boy Scout troops, the Forest Service and other groups to clear and maintain the area.
Also, it is illegal to discharge firearms in the area, as well as litter, Child said. Signs are posted stating those activities are illegal.
The police department has issued a number of citations to those caught shooting or littering in the area.