Overnight rain helps crews battling Ether Hollow Fire

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Smoke rises from the Ether Hollow Fire in Hobble Creek Canyon after rainfall on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.

Overnight rain pushed pause on the Ether Hollow Fire in Utah County, and evacuation orders are lifted, though the fire has not yet been contained.

The rain “decreased fire activity,” according to Utah Fire Info, but “there are still hot spots within the fire perimeter.”

The Ether Hollow Fire, east of Spanish Fork, was ignited by target shooters at about 6:20 p.m. on Monday. It exploded through dry terrain, growing from 20 acres to 1,000 acres in just over an hour. Authorities ordered residents of more than 200 homes in parts of Mapleton, Springville and Hobble Creek Canyon, along with Maple Canyon and the Whiting Campground, to evacuate.

That order was lifted for the Springville and Mapleton areas at noon Tuesday, although authorities said the areas would stay in a “pre-evacuation status” and Whiting Campground remained closed.

So far, no homes have been damaged or destroyed. Evacuation centers at the Mapleton City Hall at 125 W. Community Center Way and at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meeting house at 495 S. Canyon Road in Springville remain open.

It is the second Utah County wildfire ignited by target shooters in just over 28 hours. The William Fire, near Santaquin, was sparked Sunday afternoon and has grown to 4,000 acres.

“This is not the time to shoot into the wildlands, folks,” Utah Fire Info tweeted. “This has to stop.”

The William fire is 18% contained, and is not threatening any structures.

On Monday night, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved the state’s request for federal funds to help fight the fire. The authorization makes FEMA funds available to pay 75% of the state’s firefighting costs.

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