Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

July 13, 2017
Lightning major cause of fires in past week around county

A number of minor fire incidents occurred in Tooele County over the past week, with lightning strikes a major cause.

Tooele County Fire Warden Daniel Walton said lightning was responsible for a number of fires throughout the county. A lightning strike west of Ibapah last Thursday burned a few acres of sagebrush on the Utah side of the border but 192 acres in Nevada.

There were also fires in Mack Canyon west of Grantsville and North Tooele Fire District dealt with a small, lightning-caused fire in the past week, Walton said.

A fire in Skull Valley near state Route 196 on Bureau of Land Management property burned 49 acres before firefighters were able to contain it using hand crews, fire engines and a bulldozer, according to Walton. One of the hand crews responding to the fire was from Puerto Rico.

Walton said the Great Basin region, which includes Tooele County, is currently at its second-highest level for fire risk. As a result, other agencies from around the country are stationed in the region, including five crews from Puerto Rico.

“We have a lot of out-of-area resources waiting in Salt Lake, waiting to go,” Walton said.

A fire in Overlake last Friday was caused by illegal fireworks, which burned a quarter acre near an apartment complex, according to Tooele City Fire Chief Bucky Whitehouse. A lightning strike that hit a utility pole on Broadway Street also sparked a small fire in the city on Saturday.

In Stansbury Park, a grass fire on a vacant lot near the intersection of Village Boulevard and Stallion Way was likely caused by spontaneous combustion, according to Walton. Grass clippings and other yard waste were piled on the property, which could have set up the conditions for a chemical reaction that sparked the fire, he said.

With more thunderstorms expected through the end of the week, the fire risk in Tooele County remains high, Walton said.

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