LINDON, Utah — Four homes were evacuated and more than 16 acres of land burned after a wildland fire broke out near Dry Canyon in Utah County Friday afternoon.
According to the Orem Fire Department, the flames started behind a home that is currently under construction. The homeowner was using a track-hoe to do excavation work — moving large rocks from his property to U.S. Forest Service property, which caused something to spark.
The flames burned about 16.4 acres of wildland. Thankfully, there was no property damage, but it was a close call for one homeowner who had the fire edge along their property line and backyard.
While firefighters say the wind was in their favor, following a wet spring and dry summer, the area was full of dry grass and shrubbery, fueling the flames.
Acting quickly, Orem Fire said they began calling for backup while they were still en route to the fire.
“We added helicopters, County Wildland, and Forestry Wildland, right from the get go,” said Orem Fire Department Battalion Chief Gary Rawlings.
They called in two helicopters to make water drops but were only able to use one.
“One [helicopter] was actually helping us drop water, and then we had residents nearby flying drones so the second helicopter canceled,” Rawlings said. “Drones are a big issue for us, we can’t get that land support we’re going to start losing houses.”
“I wish people just understood how much of a problem that causes for us just trying to do our job,” he continued.
Despite only having the aid of one chopper, crews were able to completely contain the fire by 7 p.m.
Personnel with the Forest Service will remain in the area overnight to watch for hot spots.