OGDEN CANYON, July 14, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Crews battling the Alaskan Fire, in Weber County, packed up or hunkered down for the night by about 10 p.m. Wednesday, with plans to resume firefighting at first light Thursday.
A skeleton crew will make sure the fire doesn’t spread in the meantime, Weber Fire District Deputy Chief David Reed told Gephardt Daily Wednesday night.
He hopes to have a few more answers in the morning, possibly including the cause of the grass fire, estimated at two to three acres.
“We’re still looking into it, but it looks human caused, probably by accident,” he said. “It might have been a spark caused by a vehicle dragging a chain, or exhaust. Sometimes that will blow out carbon pieces. But it doesn’t look like someone stopped and lit it, and it wasn’t power lines like someone was reporting. There is no evidence power lines had anything to do with it.”
The fire was on a steep slope, Reed said, noting that decreases the odds it was arson. That same steep slope meant more moisture in the ground, he said, and the fact that so many trees covered the area means the fire spread more slowly than if it had been fueled by tinder-like grass and shrubbery, he said.
“It wasn’t blowing out like some fires do,” he said.
Reed said that between Weber Fire personnel and other agencies, about “30 sets of boots” were on the ground.
“The state sent a couple helicopters that were doing water drops, and fire crews were pinching in from the sides,” he said.
As of Wednesday night, no structures were threatened, and evacuations were unneeded.
“There have been no injuries, and no structures lost yet, and I don’t think they will be,” he said. “What scares me is the thought of firefighters falling on the steep draw.”
A draw is a terrain feature formed by parallel ridges, usually with a steep drop.
Most firefighters were out for the night, Reed said at about 10:15 p.m., but will be back in the morning.
Utah Highway Patrol reported on Wednesday night that State Route 39 was closed between mile markers 9 and 14. To check traffic conditions in the morning, click this link or the UDOT Traffic Twitter page.