BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — It may be some time before authorities determine what, if any charges should be brought against target shooters who allegedly started the Farmington Spine Fire Friday night.
“Fire investigators have told me it will take quite awhile,” said Kim Osborn, fire information officer for the U.S. Forest Service.
The Farmington Spine Fire reached 100 percent containment Sunday night, but not before sending one firefighter to the hospital and spurring an investigation into the target shooters.
The wildfire burned 58 acres, or about one tenth of a square mile. Crews remained on scene through Monday evening checking for hot spots.
The blaze began Friday night in the foothills above Farmington, one mile south of Farmington Canyon. Investigators believe target shooters started it, Osborne said, and forest service investigators questioned five people, according to Kim Osborn,
“We don’t believe it was set intentionally,” she said.
If charges are brought against the target shooters, they could face class B misdemeanors for shooting in a restricted area, according to Davis County Sheriff’s Sgt. Susan Poulsen.
Discharging a firearm is illegal within the boundaries of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
Crews fighting the Farmington Spine Fire kept flames above the firebreak road and it never threatened homes, Osborn said.
“The crews did a fabulous job of fighting the fire,” she said.
Two air tankers, two helicopters, four fire engines and 60 firefighters attacked the blaze over the weekend. In addition to Forest Service personnel, firefighters from the North Davis Fire District, South Davis Metro Fire Agency, Farmington Fire Department, and Layton and Kaysville fire departments worked to contain the blaze. The Davis County Sheriff’s Office also helped.
One firefighter was pulled from the fire lines and taken to Intermountain Medical Center with heat-related injuries.
“We take these injuries very seriously,” Osborn said.
The Farmington Canyon Road had been closed because of the fire, but was reopened Monday morning.
This summer, Davis County has seen little in the way of wildfires, but Farmington residents living west of the fire know all too well what devastation the raging infernos can cause.
On July 10, 2003, what became known nationwide as the “Farmington Fire,” began just west of the Farmington Spine Fire. At one point, the Farmington Fire was the most significant in the nation. It drew top wildland firefighters from across the country and destroyed more than 2,000 acres. That conflagration brought about 300 firefighters into Farmington, because of its proximity to homes.
Like this weekend’s fire, the 2003 Farmington Fire was human caused. A transient who later turned himself in to authorities admitted he had set it to get a place to sleep and a meal in jail.