Two new wildfires burn, one on Mount Olympus
Fire • Utahns warned to expect large amounts of smoke.
Published: July 9, 2013 11:01AM
Updated: December 7, 2013 11:35PM
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Christopher Samuels | Daily Utah Chronicle A wildfire burned 15 acres near the University of Utah Medical Center on Monday night. Crews battled rugged, steep terrain in addition to the flames but managed to douse the fire in about an hour.

Two small wildfires began burning in different parts of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest on Tuesday, including one on the very top of Mount Olympus looking over Salt Lake City.

The Mount Olympus fire was first reported at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and had only burned about one-tenth of an acre by Tuesday night, according to U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kim Osborn.

Osborn said the fire likely was caused by a lightning strike from thunderstorms that battered the region last week. Often, fires caused by a strike can smolder for a few days before erupting into something more visible, Osborn said.

The Forest Service will send a 4-person crew to work on containing the fire Wednesday morning, she said.

Further north, the Aspen Fire began burning sometime around 6 a.m. Tuesday in the Naomi Peak wilderness area east of Richmond. The fire was burning in Douglas and subalpine fir and had been giving off a lot of smoke Tuesday evening, but had so far consumed only a quarter of an acre. The cause of the Aspen fire was under investigation Tuesday. Osborn said a 5-person crew had hiked in to reach the blaze and began working on containing it.

With both fires, however, people should expect to see large amounts of smoke over the next couple of days, Osborn warned.

Meanwhile fire investigators were looking into a fast-moving brush fire that blackened 15 acres Monday night near the University Hospital.

Salt Lake City Fire spokesman Jasen Asay said the blaze, believed ignited by fireworks, erupted at 11:33 p.m. just to the east of the hospital complex. Crews had to battle rugged, steep terrain in addition to the flames but managed to douse the fire in about an hour’s time.

No structures were lost and no injuries were reported.

Asay said crews were forced to connect hoses from engines to two fire hydrants in a parking lot and then drag the hoses a half-mile up the side of a mountain to reach the blaze.

Firefighters remained on scene for several hours Tuesday to douse hot spots.

Fire officials also were investigating the “32 Fire” northeast of Tremonton in Box Elder County. Winds expanded the fire to about 1,100 acres by Monday evening, when crews contained it.

Jason Curry, spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, said the fire was believed to be human-caused.