Uintah Fire could have shifted into Mountain Green
Morgan residents discuss lessons learned
By DEANNE WINTERTON
In the wake of the massive Uintah fire, where a Rocky Mountain Power line caused 619 acres and $1 million in charred damage, Mountain Green residents are taking note.
If the wind would have shifted at any time the afternoon of Sept. 5, Mountain Green residents could have joined the 900 people in Uintah and South Weber who were evacuated from their homes, Morgan County Councilwoman Tina Cannon said.
When Cannon toured the area Sept. 13 with County Fire Warden Boyd Carrigan, she said it was “sobering.”
Of the 18 structures that were damaged or destroyed in the blaze, three homes were a total loss and two others were damaged. “The five that went up were the most expensive in Weber County,” Cannon said.
“In Mountain Green, it would have been 100 times worse,” Cannon said.
A Sept. 21 meeting at Kent Smith Park was set up to help Mountain Green residents discuss “lessons learned.” Among the chief lesson was that residents need “defensible space” around their homes.
The practice of defensible space is sometimes called “firescaping” for fire control reasons. It is simply making sure that a buffer area around a home has been maintained and designed to reduce fire danger. To increase the chances of surviving a wildfire, a 100 feet space is needed between a home and any grass, trees, shrubs and wildland areas.
Zone 1 of defensible space includes areas extending 30 feet out from buildings. Removing dead vegetation from the buffer zone, as well as from rooves and rain gutters, is a good idea. Regularly trimming trees to a minimum of 10 feet away from other trees and from hanging over rooves and near chimneys helps as well. In some cases, wood piles may need to be relocated. Special care should be taken as to what kind of items are located under porches and decks.
For Zone 2, which extends 100 feet out from structures, it is important to mow grass down to at least 4 inches. Removal of fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones and small branches is also encouraged.
For years Mountain Green fire officials have encouraged residents to pay attention to the defensible space around their homes by holding annual chipper days, where volunteers clear vegetation from neighbor’s yards.