UPDATED: Tervels Fire near Echo Reservoir may be linked to other blazes, investigators say
Note: This article has been changed to reflect updated containment figures for the Tervels Fire.
Fire officials are investigating whether the Tervels Fire in Summit County and five other blazes sparked along Interstate 80 between Tooele and Summit counties over Labor Day weekend are connected, according to Krachel Murdock, a public spokeswoman for Summit County.
The Tervels Fire, located near mile post 170 in Echo Canyon, east of Echo Reservoir and about six miles northeast of Coalville, started around 2 p.m. Monday. It had burned 536 acres of land as of Thursday and was considered 48 percent contained. Officials hoped to have the fire completely contained by the end of Thursday.
Investigators believe the cause of the fire to be arson.
“It started right off of the interstate, and as it burned it went down the freeway, as well as up the hill,” Murdock said. “It is burning right on the edge of the interstate.”
Evidence, witness information and other factors have led investigators to believe that the fire is related to the five other fires along I-80, according to a tweet from Utah Wildfire Info.
Firefighters on the Tervels Fire worked on Thursday to secure the perimeter and continue mop-up operations, according to Summit County officials. The perimeter has held, allowing crews to extinguish hot spots.
More than 115 firefighters from multiple agencies, including three Summit County fire districts, battled the blaze.
Murdock said on Wednesday that there was concern about potential thunderstorms, as well as winds, as crews fought the blaze on steep terrain with continuous traffic passing by on the interstate.
One eastbound lane of the interstate remained closed between mile markers 169 and 171. Officials said on Twitter that the lane would reopen sometime Thursday, however.
The Echo Creek Ranches area, located four miles east of the fire, was placed under pre-evacuation status during the first three days of the blaze. The status was lifted Thursday.
Anyone with information about the start of the Tervels Fire is asked to contact the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
Two other wildfires also continued to burn on Wednesday northeast of Kamas in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
The Murdock and Slate fires are burning in mixed-conifer and aspen, according to a press release from the U.S. Forest Service. The Slate Fire is located six miles northeast of Kamas. It was first reported on Aug. 23.
The Murdock Fire, located 22 miles northeast of Kamas, is burning between Murdock Basin and Squaw Creek roads. It was about 52 percent contained on Wednesday, with about 600 acres burned.
The release states that firefighters are using confine and suppression techniques to allow the fires to burn through dead and downed vegetation.
Crews continued to use aerial and hand ignition firing to reduce the duration of the fire and minimize the risk to firefighters and the public, the release states. Approximately 107 firefighters remained on scene on Wednesday.
Smoke from both fires was visible from Mirror Lake Highway.
A temporary closure has been implemented beginning at Murdock Basin Road. The area remains closed to the public.
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