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Firefighters on Saddle Fire still need to social distance

Firefighters were able to get the Saddle Fire contained to 40 as the size of the man-made blaze grew to 646 acres. Photo Utah Fire Info.

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.

 

National Guard helicopters have been dropping water on the fire from above.

 

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.