Firefighters escape Utah wildfire that destroyed stalled fire engines

(Courtesy Utah fire officials) The North Eden Fire started Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, east of Bear Lake, and has since traveled east into Wyoming and Idaho.

Crews battling the North Eden Fire that started east of Bear Lake narrowly avoided injury Thursday, when the wind-driven blaze moved in on them as they tried to fix a stalled fire engine.

Firefighters had taken two engines to the western flank when one of the vehicles stopped because of an unspecified mechanical issue, according to a news release from state fire officials. Firefighters from both engines tried to fix the vehicle but were stopped short as flames moved toward the area, cutting off their escape route.

The firefighters fled the vehicles and moved into a nearby area that had already burned, known as “the black," to escape the flames. They were unharmed, but the fire destroyed the trucks.

The North Eden Fire started Thursday afternoon. Wind blew the fire into “dense grass plains," and from there it grew so quickly firefighters couldn’t keep up, according to the release.

Crews have been able to control the fire on its western side, but it has burned an estimated 14,000 acres as it moves east into the three-corner border of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. It was 20 percent contained Friday evening.

A number of ranches are in the fire’s path, but so far no structures have been lost. No injuries have been reported.