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County Watch

compiled by Patrick Parkinson

A forest fire on the North Slope had consumed about 100 acres of land as firefighters nearly contained the blaze on Friday, authorities say.

"It didn’t get nearly as big as they thought it would," Summit County Fire Warden Bryce Boyer said.

Roughly 80 firefighters helped contain the Coal Mine fire with several engines and a helicopter, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kathy Jo Pollock said.

"They made really good progress [Wednesday]," she said. "The weather has been an aid to suppressing this."

The fire started when lightning struck Monday near Hoop Lake in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Summit County, Pollock said.

"The fire did a lot of smoldering on the ground," Pollock said, adding that crews contained 90 percent of the blaze Thursday. "That’s doing some good cleaning up some debris on the forest floor."

The fire threatened no structures, she said.

"It is real steep terrain and they got a lot of rain and a little bit of snow," Pollock said Friday. "They should have it finished up tonight."

Firefighters will extinguish hot spots and monitor the area this week.

Recreationists heading to Hoop Lake should be aware that trucks might be in the area.

Meanwhile, Boyer said he expects a "moderate to normal" wildfire season this summer.

"I don’t look for a real, real active season," he said.

New power lines in Kamas

Installing an electrical transmission line in pastures west of Kamas will reduce the number of outages in South Summit, Utah Power officials say.

"We have had some history with this project," Utah Power spokesman Delynn Rodeback told the Summit County Commission. "We’re excited about hoping to increase our reliability in this part of the state."

Utah Power would like to install a high-voltage line between substations in Oakley and Kamas.

"If one community has an outage they can transfer power from the other substation," Kamas Mayor Lew Marchant said.

Residents griped in 2003 when the company proposed building 70-foot power poles on Main Street in Kamas.

"They have a route that’s much more acceptable to the city, that’s going west of the main city boundary," Marchant said.

"Because we’re combining lines" higher poles will be necessary in the area to accommodate the new transmission facility, Rodeback said.

"We feel like this was the best decision, in that, it just follows the existing lines," Rodeback said.

The new structures are mostly wooden but some steel equipment is necessary, he added.

"Obviously, there is a change in what’s going on out there," Rodeback said, adding that a new transmission line would help Utah Power accommodate additional growth in the Kamas Valley.

But residents complained that more power lines create a health hazard.

"There is no conclusive evidence that it causes detrimental health effects," he said. "Without conclusive evidence, we can’t really come down on either side of that issue."

He insists Utah Power will meet with anyone who has concerns.


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