Firefighters on Saddle Fire still need to social distance
May 14, 2020, 7:38 AM
MIDWAY, Utah — Firefighters will spend another day Thursday battling the Saddle Fire.
The fire burned about 650 acres and was 40 percent contained Wednesday evening just north of Midway. That marked good progress in just one day.
The Red Cross tweeted that evacuations were lifted for the time being, but residents still have to be on alert for any flareups.
— American Red Cross of Utah (@RedCrossUtah) May 14, 2020
National Guard helicopters have been dropping water on the fire from above.
The Utah National Guard’s 2-211th Aviation Regiment is assisting more than 150 firefighters from local and state agencies battling the ongoing Saddle Fire, just north of Midway. Utilizing water buckets, UTNG helicopters are able to drop water in difficult to reach areas. pic.twitter.com/AjwB1CyD25
— Utah National Guard (@UTNationalGuard) May 13, 2020
Fighting the fire and the coronavirus
But firefighters face the challenge of trying to stay safe from the coronavirus as well.
Crews are trying to keep properly spaced when they can. At camp that means separate areas for tents, assigned port-a-potties, and a lot more disinfecting.
“Really trying to isolate separate resources so engine modules, or hand crews, staying away from other resources, just to minimize contact and try and reduce risk of exposure,” said Kate Webb with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands on KSL TV.
“We’ve had to do a lot of preseason trainings and gatherings virtually,” Webb said. “We are having to rethink the way that we have our fire camps and our briefings in the mornings, so we’ve been implementing a lot of new protocols.”
It’s the fourth fire in the area in a week, and investigators say it was human-caused. They say they had a juvenile in custody who was talking to them.
But the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office said they were unable to release additional information about that. They said for now, the focus is on residents’ and first responders’ safety as well as the “preservation of homes and other property.