Morgan Fire Department, aided by other departments as well as locals, put out eight smaller fires before they erupted into wildfires near Lost Creek Dam on Tuesday, August 13. Morgan Fire received a page as a “fire below Lost Creek Dam.” When they arrived on scene at the intersection of the “back road” near Ron Crouch’s property and Lost Creek Road, they encountered the first fire, but observed additional fire activity in the distance and continued. The second fire was just off the road past the “old Crouch homestead,” where Ron Crouch was attempting to stop the fire with a shovel.
As the truck continued up the road, they found a much larger fire burning below Anthony and Jenna Fife’s house. Neighbor Shane Oliver and his wife were at the Fife home using an old fire engine from Steve Peterson’s ranch to fight the fire. After helping with fire three, the Morgan fire fighters continued up the road to fire four which was racing toward a shed on Larry Pentz’s property.
Morgan Fire assisted with fire four before moving on to fire five which was small and not threatening any structures like fires six and seven. The final fire was burning between Ross Wilkinson’s property and John and Lorraine Toone’s home.
Under the command of Morgan Fire Chief Ian Nelson, Morgan’s three units, a unit from Mountain Green, a Weber County unit called in to coordinate air equipment if necessary, and local resident support the fires were all extinguished and there were no losses.
“It was a heck of a stop,” one fire official reported. “I have to applaud the efforts of the locals and give them a slap on the back. They worked so hard. People were hauling five-gallon buckets full of water on rangers and beating fire with saddle blankets. A number of people left the cement plant to come help fight the fires. It was amazing what everyone did.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Investigators from the state and Forest Service arrived on the scene to help determine the cause, but preliminary signs point to “something being dragged down the road” as the cause.
Residents are urged to exercise caution as they travel around the state during this period of extremely dry conditions. The Utah Department of Natural Resources, along with the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, suggests the following precautions for vehicles.
• Do not drive or park on dry grass. Hot components under the vehicle can start a fire.
• Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained with nothing dragging on the ground.
• Check tire pressure. If you hit a bump, the wheel can compress, make contact with the ground and throw sparks.
• Maintain your brakes. Worn down brakes can throw sparks.