Since we last reportedjust two days ago, the Brian Head Fire has grown from 42,000 acres to 54,202 acres now.
It is currently the largest wildfire burning in the country. It is still only 10% contained. All evacuations remain, and the number of firefighters on site has increased from 1,140 to 1,605. Despite the fire’s growth, the expected containment date is still July 15th. Additionally, Brian Head Ski Resort has still not needed to change their summer operations.
Although the growth in the fire may seem rapid, officials say not to worry. The fire’s growth was expected and is not an indication of the fire getting more out of hand.
“A lot of that growth was expected due to the nature of the fuels (along the northern flank), and we had a little growth on the southern end too, buth that was mostly from intentional burnouts” – Fire Information Officer, Andrew Jackson
High winds have also presented a challenge for firefighters. The hope is that next week will bring lower temperatures and lower winds, so some progress can really be made containing the fire.
The tapes of the tw0 911 calls, one by the person who started the fire and one by a neighbor have just been released. The calls reveal that the man who started the fire was burning shrubs around his house when the fire got out of hand.
“Hi, I have a fire getting out of control… we’re trying to fight this but its getting out of control… We need help!” – Unknown Brian Head citizen to 911
The 911 tapes have been posted below. Let’s use this as a reminder to be vigilant and responsible when creating a controlled burn or campfire.
(Tapes: Salt Lake Tribune)