New wildfire sparked in Utah’s west desert Monday
Butte Fire • Nearly 1,000-acre blaze sparked Monday in west desert.
Published: September 17, 2012 10:12AM
Updated: January 7, 2013 11:31PM

A new 1,000-acre wildfire started in Utah’s west desert Monday even as crews fought another blaze southwest of Provo.

The Butte Fire was sparked Monday morning southwest of Simpson Springs, about 50 miles southwest of Tooele near Dugway Proving Grounds, said Fire Information Officer Cami Lee. The cause is under investigation.

The fire was burning short grass and challenging firefighters with its difficult-to-access location, Lee said. Crews hoped to contain the fire Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the West Lake Fire was 95 percent contained as of Monday evening and firefighting operations were winding down, Lee said. Sparked by target shooters Saturday, the fire has burned more than 400 acres just south of Utah Lake on West Mountain.

West Mountain is within Wasatch Front target-shooting restricted areas established earlier this summer by state decree — restrictions that were not to expire until Oct. 31. Lee said the specifics of the target-shooting connection were still under investigation.

No injuries had been reported among the 35 firefighters battling the blaze. While the flames initially forced evacuation of an observatory atop the 6,805-foot peak and threatened several FM radio towers, no structural damage had been reported as of Monday.

Crews late Sunday set back-fires to eliminate any pathways for the flames to spread.

Meanwhile, a 27-acre fire in Sanpete County’s Fairview Canyon was declared 100 percent contained Sunday night, according to the Interagency Fire Center in Richfield. Fairview was one of the Sanpete County towns evacuated during the Wood Hollow Fire in June, in which one man died.

The Wood Hollow Fire destroyed 52 homes and 108 outbuildings.

In Utah County’s American Fork Canyon, the Tank Fire — started by lightning Sept. 2 — continued to smolder in steep, rugged and remote terrain Monday.

Fire Information Officer Loyal Clark said it had burned 25 acres of dense vegetation and trees, but was not threatening any structures.

“It’s staying where we want it to stay, so we’re just monitoring it with a squad. On Sunday, we had a helicopter dump some water on it but we’re not expecting it to spread — though people will likely continue to see smoke from the fire throughout this week,” Clark said.

There was no estimate for when the fire could be finally snuffed.

remims@sltrib.com