OGDEN — A fire near the mouth of Ogden Canyon on Saturday night kept crews busy into the early morning hours of Sunday.
Deputy Chief Shelby Willis with the Ogden Fire Department said crews were dispatched at 9:50 p.m. Saturday to reports of a grass fire near Maxfield Drive and 900 South, in the foothills just north of the canyon.
The blaze, which was dubbed the Ninth Street Fire, started on a quarter-acre, and grew to about 40 acres on the strength of stiff canyon winds, according to Willis.
“That wind took the fire in a bunch of different directions,” she said.
Willis said they were fortunate that the fire didn’t start earlier in the evening, when a strong windstorm passed through the area.
“We had a huge windstorm last night,” she said Sunday morning. “It ended before 10 o’clock, but it was incredibly windy. If we’d still had those significant winds going when the fire started, it would have sent it right up the canyon.”
The fire also burned through “a bunch” of power lines, according to Willis. She said the power company never cut electricity to the lines, which added to the challenges facing firefighters.
“At one point, live power lines were on fire, and crews couldn’t put them out,” Willis said. “Between the wind and the power lines, there were quite a few complexities to fighting this fire.”
Willis said 22 pieces of firefighting equipment and 44 firefighters surrounded the blaze. Once surrounded, the fire was allowed to burn while crews focused on protecting structures in the area.
Willis said the fire never posed a threat to any buildings, although at one point it threatened equipment in a fenced-in substation.
There were also no evacuations as a result of the fire.
“Although, at one point, we thought we might have to evacuate an apartment complex,” she said.
It took firefighters three or four hours to contain the fire.
“Probably around 1:30 or 2 o’clock (Sunday) morning we had the fire completely surrounded, and it wasn’t growing any more,” Willis said. “But crews stayed on scene until 7 a.m. because they were worried if the wind kicked up they would find some hot spots.”
As of late-morning Sunday, Willis said no hot spots had been identified.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, but the state and local fire marshals were on scene Sunday morning looking for clues, she said.
Willis also took the opportunity to offer a message of fire prevention in the aftermath of the Ninth Street Fire.
“We’re extremely dry this time of year — we didn’t get our normal rain,” she said. “June 1 is the beginning of the wildland season, so anything folks can do to be careful with things like campfires and fireworks would be appreciated. It’s going to be a rough season.”