PROVO, Utah, June 23, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Provo Fire & Rescue crews spent Wednesday afternoon and evening fighting back-to-back brush fires, assisted by the Orem Fire Department and and Utah County firefighters.
“Orem helped us so much with the north end fire, we called them back for the south fire a few hours later because we missed them so much,” said Provo Fire & Rescue Chief Sam Armstrong, who admitted he was pretty tired as of 10:30 p.m.
The afternoon fire was up on a hill between Provo and Orem, Armstrong said.
“Some guys were using 4-wheelers to pull brush powers, and they ran over a rock, and the blade hit it and made a spark,” the chief said.
“They were doing the right thing, trying to cut the dried weeds to limit the fire risk.”
The fire worked its way up to Palisades Drive, Armstrong said. Orem crews helped by protecting residences, and the fire came within probable 10 feet of one house, Armstrong said.
The flames jumped a canal, crossing into Orem, and crews there were able to stop the fire, which reached about four acres, Armstrong said. It was out by 6:30 p.m.
Armstrong he got to go home and spend time with his family briefly before being called back out for the second blaze, which grew to an acre or two before it could be doused by the multiple responding agencies.
“We put 20 guys on it from Provo a, four stations and two battalion chiefs and me, and Orem brought four guys and a brush truck, and the county brought two heavy brush trucks, eight firefighters and two battalion chiefs,” Armstrong said. “The county guys helped us with chainsaws, taking down some of the trees still smoldering 20 to 30 feet high, which could smolder and rekindle.”
Armstrong said the second fire was in a location where no residences were threatened. It was more of an open field, with the nearest structures being 200 to 300 yards away, and being industrial buildings constructed of materials including metal and cement, so less likely to burn.
No one was injured in the fires, Armstrong said. He also noted a Monday brush fire started by a juvenile using fireworks, which may result in charges and fines for the child and his family.
“It’s been busy, and it may stay busy for a while,” Armstrong said.