Fire trucks on scene

OGDEN — Crews were called to a small fire above the 27th Street Trailhead around midday Saturday.

The fire, which was quickly extinguished, burned a roughly 100-square-foot area in the rocky scree above the trailhead, according to Mike Erickson, who handles fire prevention education with the U.S. Forest Service.

Erickson said it looked to be a warming or cooking fire someone had built in a rocky area that escaped whatever means they’d used to contain it in the rocks.

“More than likely, they probably thought there were enough rocks there that it wouldn’t burn anything,” he said. “But when the coals fell between the rocks, it lit the leaf litter in the cracks and fingered out, burning about a 10-by-10-foot area in the rocks.”

Erickson said one Ogden Fire Department vehicle and one Forest Service engine responded.

Although the fire consisted primarily of smoldering and burning chunks of oak and dried leaves in and around the rock scree, with the windy conditions it could have been much worse, according to Erickson.

“If it would have made it to other fuels up there, it might have been a different story,” he said.

Erickson said it appeared to him that the fire may have been started by a homeless individual.

“There seems to be people living up here,” he said. “So they’re kind of making flat areas and bringing cushions and hammocks and tarps and ropes and hummingbird feeders and garden gnomes.”

Erickson said that in the area surrounding the small fire, it appeared that more than a half-dozen people had been living there over the course of a month or two — moving rocks to make flat spots and pruning back trees.

The area isn’t far from a popular shot for rock climbers, and Erickson encourages residents to watch for suspicious activity in the area.

“If people smell smoke, or see people carrying water jugs or groceries up into the area, please contact the Forest Service so we can get up there and put an end to it before we have something more serious happen,” he said.

The phone number for the local U.S. Forest Service office is 801-625-5112.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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