BRIGHAM CITY – Lightning strikes caused three of four fires in Box Elder County Wednesday that charred nearly 10,000 acres and took out two historic railroad trestles near Park Valley, according to Mitch Zundel, a public information officer reporting on the blaze.
He said a storm cell blew through the county mid-afternoon.
“Crews from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Box Elder County Fire, Box Elder County Road Department, Weber County, Cache County, and air support worked most of the evening yesterday and all night on the first three fires,” he said. “We are hopeful that all three fires will be contained and out by the end of the day today.”
He said the biggest issue fire fighters faced was a lack of water resources in that region to help fight the fire. The three lightning-caused fires were the Matlin Fire, Peplin Fire and Hansel Fire all southwest of Park Valley. Park Valley is approximately 100 miles west of Brigham City.
Zundel said the Matlin Fire was the one that took out the two of the historic railroad trestle bridges.
“Fire crews were able to save several recreational structures including three cabins, five trailers, and a couple of outbuildings that were threatened at the Matlin Fire,” he said. “That fire was estimated to be around 8,000 acres in size.”
He reported the Peplin Fire burned 1,000 acres with no structures being threatened.
The Hansel Fire took out 700 acres and no structures were threatened.
Zundel said the Golden Spike Fire was the only human-caused fire.
“A local farmer was using a cutting torch while installing a gate that started (the blaze),” he said. “(The farmer) was able to help fight the fire by using his tractor to help contain the fire along with the help of firefighters.”
The fire was extinguished and contained and ended up being around two acres, Zundel said. The fire was directly across from the Golden Spike Historic Park.
“We are going into a Red Flag Warning for the next 36 hours or more,” Zundel said. “Conditions are very dangerous right now, so please be safe.”