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Utah firefighters tame wildfires in Tooele, Utah counties

Published September 18, 2012 10:51 am

Butte Fire • Cause undetermined for fire near Simpson Springs.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Crews Tuesday closed containment lines around a wildfire near Utah Lake, as well as a blaze in Tooele County.

Fire Information Officer Cami Lee said the West Lake Fire was 100 percent contained Tuesday morning. The fire, thought sparked by target shooters on Saturday on West Mountain, had blackened at least 615 acres of grass and timber. With containment achieved, demobilization of 25 firefighters and equipment assigned to the place began, with a small unit expected to remain to monitor for any flareups.

Also declared contained Tuesday afternoon was the 1,000-acre Butte Fire. That blaze, of undetermined origin, was first spotted late Monday morning near Simpson Springs, about 50 miles southwest of Tooele. The fire was located in an unpopulated, rugged area near Dugway Proving Grounds and burning in sagebrush and grass.

"The lack of roads in the remote area [was] creating a challenge for [fire] engines to get into the [area]," Lee said, adding that about 20 firefighters — aided by water-bearing helicopters — were assigned to bring the blaze to heel.

Meanwhile, Lee said, authorities were investigating the circumstances of the target shooting thought to have ignited the West Lake Fire. West Mountain, where the bulk of the blaze is located, is within Wasatch Front target-shooting restricted areas established earlier this summer by state decree — restrictions that were not to expire until Oct. 31.

No injuries had been reported and no structures had been lost in the West Lake Fire, though flames initially forced evacuation of an observatory atop the 6,805-foot peak and approached several FM radio towers.

Elsewhere in Utah County, the Tank Fire continued to smolder in American Fork Canyon's steep, rugged terrain. That fire was sparked by lightning Sept. 2 and had burned 25 acres of dense vegetation and trees; it was not threatening any structures.

Fire managers have adopted a passive, monitoring strategy with the Tank Fire. There was no estimated time for containment.

remims@sltrib.com