WEBER COUNTY, Utah, July 24, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Authorities in Weber County say the fast-moving fire which led to the evacuation of 50 homes near Snowbasin Saturday was caused by a lone target shooter.
Deputy Chief David Reed of the Weber Fire District said the Art Nord Fire began late Saturday afternoon when a man driving through Weber Canyon decided to stop and shoot a water bottle on U.S. Forest Service land. According to Reed, the initial investigation showed the target shooter was using a 9mm handgun loaded with range ammo when a round ricocheted and started the fire.
The shooter immediately went back to the car and called 911, Reed said. He also remained on scene and directed firefighters as they arrived.
“That might have been what helped save the homes up above,” said Reed, gesturing to a large burn scar which came within several yards of a number of hillside homes.
Reed credited the quick work of multiple agencies which battled the fire on the ground and in the air.
“There’s a road up there… and they attacked down through to save those homes… and then the aircraft helped… with some really fast coordination, just seeing how quickly they strike, and how close we got to those homes, I mean, it was close,” Reed said.
According to a late tweet Saturday night from Utah Fire Info, the blaze had charred 50 acres of grass and brush and was five percent contained. The evacuation orders were scheduled to be lifted at 10 p.m.
“Old Snowbasin Road will be closed at Basin View Road until further notice. Fire personnel will be on scene throughout the night,” the tweet said.
Firefighting resources dedicated to the Art Nord Fire include a 20 person crew, two engines, two heavy air tankers, and two helicopters.
The identity of the man who allegedly started the fire has yet to be released. Investigators say they have yet to determine if any rules were violated.
Gephardt Daily will update the story as more information becomes available.