Crews have almost completely extinguished the Rough Canyon Fire, thanks to the efforts of firefighters and “mother nature.” The fire has burned 5421 acres south of Portage, in Box Elder County.
Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands communications coordinator Leann Fox said Saturday night, the fire has not spread since Thursday and is 90 percent contained. Crews have completely surrounded the burn area and are now in the process of extinguishing small fires inside.
“Mopping up means they are going along, making sure that everything is cold to the touch and that there aren’t any hot spots that might spark up again, should a wind come through,” explained Fox.
The fire was first reported Wednesday afternoon. It tripled in size Thursday when dry winds started pushing it toward some homes. There were never any evacuations ordered, although several structures were threatened.
Fox said more than 200 crew members have been fighting the fire, including two single air tankers and three helicopters. They were blessed Friday and Saturday when temperatures cooled, winds stopped and the humidity increased.
“That really affected the fires behavior. What was driving the fire to begin with was the high winds and temperatures, and when both of those went down, the fire stopped growing.”
Investigators suspect the fire was human caused. They are still interviewing a group of people who were in the area when the fire started, to determine exactly what sparked the blaze.
Fox said the fire should be a warning. Even though it is still pretty green in northern Utah, people need to be cautious when using campfires, burning debris or lighting fireworks.
“It is just unsafe. With the right temperatures, wind conditions and weather conditions, anything can start and take off just as fast as this fire did.”
Fire managers have begun pulling teams off and reassigning them to other fires around the state. They hope to have the fire completely extinguished by Tuesday or sooner.