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Crews making progress in taming Utah wildfires

Published July 8, 2014 6:38 am

Taylor Mountain Fire • Size downgraded, blaze heading toward containment.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A wildfire of still undetermined cause continued to rage north of the eastern Utah city of Vernal on Monday, though crews were making steady progress in bringing it to heel.

Kelsey Birchell, Bureau of Land Management fire information officer, said the Taylor Mountain Road Fire's size actually had been reduced due to more accurate re-mapping of the blaze over the weekend. Total acreage was trimmed to 3,126 acres from the earlier estimate of nearly 3,600 acres.

No injuries had been reported, though three structures — two summer cabins and one permanent residence — were lost to the flames. Occupants were able to safely evacuate, Birchell said.

The Utah chapter of the Red Cross was aiding the family with clothing, food and shelter needs.

About 200 firefighters had completed digging lines around 50 percent of the fire by Monday night.

"We've made some good progress getting lines up around the fire today," Birtchell said.

The fire, burning in parched grass, sagebrush, pinyon and juniper, began Saturday 10 miles north of Vernal. Flames also encroached on Steinaker State Park, blackening 60 acres. More than 200 campers were evacuated from the park on Saturday, and it remained closed on Monday.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined.

Meanwhile, crews had reached 95 percent containment of the 761-acre Greek Peek Fire, burning 15 miles southwest of Enterprise Reservoir in Dixie National Forest.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims