My Views of Utah

Wildfire on Y Mountain, Provo

July 2001

small map

Utah, being a western state, typically has hot dry summers after wet springs. Lush wild grasses quickly become dry providing ready tinder for the smallest spark of fire. Many wildfires begin with "dry" lightening, but the most damaging often begin with human error, either accidental or not. Two July holidays (July 4th, US Independence Day, and July 24th, Utah Pioneer Day) stimulate the use of fireworks by many individuals, fireworks which may supply the spark which begins a conflagration.

On July 21, 2001, at about 6:00 p.m., a wildfire began on the foothills of Y Mountain, a prominent landmark east of Provo. The hot wind and dry fuel quickly advanced the fire up the mountain, destroying thousands of acres of trees and other plants. The best firefighting teams were called in to gain control of it, ultimately costing the state over a million dollars. Even after two weeks helicopters were dropping water on remaining "hot spots." The cost of the fire, determined to have been human caused, will be assessed to the person(s) who started it.

View from my front door

Above: This view from my front door shows the smoke in the early stages of the fire. The farther mountain is Y mountain. Both visible mountains are actually "hills" in front of impressive Provo Peak which rises behind them to a height of nearly 12,000 ft.

Fire bomber

Left: One of at least four airplanes which were flying around the fire. One seemed to be observing and sending information to the others which would then strategically drop fire retardent chemicals on areas in the path of the flames.

Right: A cloud of red chemicals falls from this plane to the cliffs below. Notice the flames visible in the lower left of the photo. Also visible (through the smoke) is the white block "Y" on the mountain, a symbol of Brigham Young University which is located just west of the foot of these hills.

Fire retardant falls

Fire retardant seen on cliff

Left: Red fire retardant is clearly seen on the cliff top, a testimony to the skill of the fire bomber pilot.

After viewing the fire from my neighborhood, Tanya and I decided to drive closer to it and view it from another angle. To see the photos we took there, go to page 2.

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*Unless otherwise noted, all photos on this website were taken by Venita, who also holds the copyright. Should you wish to download any of them for any reason (other than your own enjoyment), please credit  Venita  as the photographer and add my URL:

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