West Antelope fire grows to 7,000 acres
ANTELOPE ISLAND — A large wildfire on Antelope Island exploded overnight, burning an estimated 7,000 acres.
As of 9 a.m., the West Antelope Fire had zero containment, said Department of Natural Resources spokesman Shayne Ward. But he noted that several crews on the ground with the assistance of two single-engine planes made good progress Friday night through Saturday morning. A helicopter was also on order Saturday to assist in firefighting efforts.
The fire was believed to have started Thursday night due to a lightning strike but wasn’t reported until 6 p.m. Friday. The fire has a large perimeter, Ward said. It was burning both east and west about halfway up the mountain. Some of the fire was burning toward the Great Salt Lake, another front was burning toward the mountain and another toward the main road, he said.
No structures had been damaged as of Saturday morning. The fire came within a half-mile of Fielding Garr Ranch overnight. Ward said Saturday the ranch was no longer in danger.
The fire was still several miles away from the Visitor’s Center, Ward said.
There were no reports of bison, antelope or mule deer being injured. Ward said the wildlife is typically good about staying away from the fire.
“They are wild animals and they are very aware of their own environment and are well out of harms way,” he said.
With wind blowing from the north Saturday morning, the fire created a lot of smoke that blanketed the Salt Lake Valley. Ward said although it’s a very visual fire, he reminded residents to keep their drones out of the area.
“It’s important that drones stay out of the airspace,” he said.
The fire has forced the cancellation of Pioneer Day weekend festivities that were scheduled there.
Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.