As of Monday, July 28, the Morgan County fire dubbed the Tunnel Hollow fire was completely contained. The fire was ignited by lightening on Sunday, July 20, and grew as windy conditions blew the flames up the mountainside.
Thankfully, the breeze also blew in a rain storm that provided much needed precipitation to help contain the last four percent of the blaze.
Eight smokejumper teams, a HotShot team and seven hand crew teams were brought in to fight the fire that eventually ate up 1,600 acres of land in Morgan County.
The smokejumper teams are a group of highly trained wildland firefighters who parachute into difficult-to-access areas. They are self-sufficient and are prepared with food, water and tools to fight fires solo for up to three days.
These firefighters were visibly exhausted as they arrived at Morgan Middle School each night to set up camp. Although meals were already provided for these brave men, the Morgan community decided to pitch in and give a special hometown touch to the campsite.
Several moms in the community came together and put up thank you signs, tied red ribbons to the fence and provided two tables full of treats for the tired teams. Costco donated water bottles to the effort and moms came to the rescue with Kleenex, baby wipes, ointment, trail mix, toilet paper and additional water.
Verlene Johnson headed up donation efforts in addition to helping in various other areas. She said, “The firefighters wanted me to let the community know how grateful they were for the treats. They said they never get anything like this. I told them, ‘That is because you have never been to Morgan.’” Johnson said she is proud to be a part of such a great community.
In addition to the firefighters on the ground there were six helicopters overhead as well as two single engine air tankers.
Rocky Mountain Power employees joined the ranks on July 24, Pioneer Day, as the flames consumed power poles in the area. Over 1,800 customers were without power for several hours while power company crews worked tirelessly to replace damaged poles.
The three affected substations were located in Mountain Green, Taggart and Round Valley.
No buildings were harmed and no injuries were reported. Despite the fact that falling rock and debris caused river closures throughout the week, water enthusiasts who are willing to brave the weather are now allowed to enjoy their recreation spot once more.