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Utah crews hope storms will help snuff wildfires

Published August 22, 2012 1:10 pm

Red Ledges Wildfire • Blaze near Diamond Fork Recreations Area tops 2,000 acres.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As rain-laden thunderstorms rolled over the region, firefighters worked Wednesday to hem in two northern Utah wildfires that had burned nearly 2,300 acres along the slopes of the Wasatch Mountains.

The largest of the blazes, the 1,680-acre Red Ledges Wildfire, reportedly had slowed its growth to a smoldering crawl. Fire Information Officer Kim Osborn said about 300 firefighters, aided by water-bearing helicopters and fire-retardant dumping air tankers, were battling the human-caused blaze that began Sunday.

Cooler weather and rising humidity that came with the mid-week storm system was helping the effort. The fire was 80 percent contained and evacuations of 20 cabins had been lifted, though portions of the Diamond Fork Recreation Area remained closed to the public.

"The objectives [are] to keep the fire west of Diamond Fork, south of Hobble Creek and east of Red Mountain Ridge," Osborn said. "Good progress was made [with addition of] ground crews and aviation resources. Firefighters will continue to construct fire lines around the perimeter of the fire [and] to work hot spots."

Meanwhile, crews had gained the upper hand on the 244-acre Whiskey Wildfire, which had been burning in pinyon, juniper and oak since Sunday southeast of Heber. About 150 firefighters declared full containment of the fire Wednesday night, Fire Information Officer Jason Curry said.

Crews were primarily focused on mopping up hot spots within the Whiskey fire's perimeter.

remims@sltrib.com