Crews look to cloudy skies for help on wildfires
Human caused • Red Ledges, Whiskey blazes top 2,100 acres combined.
Published: August 21, 2012 08:22AM
Updated: August 22, 2012 09:13AM

Crews hoped to take advantage of predicted thunderstorms and rainfall to gain the upper hand on two northern Utah wildfires that had blackened more than 2,100 acres by Tuesday.

The largest of the blazes, the 1,854-acre Red Ledges Wildfire, was burning out of control in rugged, steep terrain containing tinder-dry pinyon pine, juniper and oak in the Diamond Fork Canyon area. Recreationists have been evacuated, along with 20 summer cabins, since the fire began on Sunday.

Fire Information Officer Ted Hinricks said the Red Ledges fire is believed to be human caused — perhaps sparked by someone using a chain saw — but the investigation was ongoing.

Crews worked Tuesday to begin cutting containment lines around the flames, paying special attention to keeping the fire west of Diamond Fork, south of Hobble Creek and east of Red Mountain Ridge. Firefighters were getting help from a fleet of water-bearing helicopters and air tankers loaded with fire retardant mud.

Meanwhile, the 272-acre Whiskey Fire, about seven miles southeast of Heber near Daniels Canyon, was 30 percent contained Tuesday. That fire, too, was human caused, ignited by a shooter using a metal target, officials said.

“There’s not been a lot of growth with the activity mainly in the interior of the fire,” Fire Information Officer Jason Curry said. “We’re focusing on mopping up the hot spots and making more progress on containing this fire.”

In all, about 400 firefighters battled the Red Ledges and Whiskey fires.

Forecasters issued a “Red Flag” wildfire danger warning for northwestern Utah from Logan south to Milford. That advisory , to kick in at 3 p.m. as a spell of dry lighting moved through the area, was to expire at midnight.

remims@sltrib.com