Northern Utahns woke up Monday to the familiar summer sight of smoke plumes over the mountains, as a new wildfire consumes land northwest of Tremonton. For Kevin Anderson, it was personal.
“Earlier this morning I was considering going over there and trying to clear out brush," he said.
That’s because Anderson is the chief engineer at the Cache Valley Media Group, and they own the radio equipment the fire is threatening. The Radio Hill Fire, as it was aptly named, has burnt more than 1,500 acres of land, and is only 10 percent contained according to Jason Curry, the public information officer for Utah Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
“We are pouring a lot of effort into this one, we’ve got a hotshot crew, helicopters, we’ve got heavy air tankers, engines, pretty much the full complement trying to get around it and contain it,” Curry said.
He said the fire was started by lightning alongside three others in the area Sunday night, but was the only one to get out of control. There are houses to the south, but have not yet been threatened, he said. The fire is climbing up the mountain toward radio transmitters however, and Anderson said that equipment doesn’t come cheap.
“We’ve got four kind of mid range transmitters up there, those don’t come cheap, we’ve got a whole rack of low power translators, probably up to a million bucks,” said Anderson.
While the forecast is hot and dry, Curry said the relative lack of wind inspires confidence that the fire will come under control soon. July is a concerning month for wildfire, he said, as fuels are dry and fireworks light up, he reminded Utahns to watch their impact, as 82% of the fires this year have been human caused.