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Ogden • Fire officials believe a 12-acre fire that burned in the mouth of Ogden Canyon Tuesday morning was set intentionally.
"It is human-caused," Ogden Fire Deputy Chief Eric Bauman said. "It looks that it was deliberately set ... That has got us concerned."
Bauman declined to elaborate further about how the fire began.
Ogden Fire Marshal Brandon Thueson confirmed that "we did find items at the scene" that indicated someone started the fire. He urged anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area to call Ogden police.
The blaze started at 6:30 a.m. near a Rocky Mountain Power substation about a quarter-mile west of the mouth of the canyon, which is also 12th Street and State Road 39. Fifty to 60 homes were evacuated, including a nearby apartment complex, but evacuations were lifted around 9:30 a.m.
Bauman said crews gained control of the fire about two hours after it started. He said windy weather was especially problematic for fire crews. "That area out of Ogden Canyon has particularly strong winds out of the east every morning," he said.
The fire came dangerously close to homes and the power station, but fire crews from Ogden, South Ogden and the U.S. Forest Service were able to keep the fire away from the structures.
Crews will remain in the area throughout the day to fight any flare-ups, Bauman said.
Jerry Wilkinson, who has lived in his home on 1350 South for 27 years, was one of those evacuated Tuesday morning. He said he smelled smoke as he grabbed his morning newspaper at about 6:30 a.m., but when he went to his backyard, he saw 50-foot flames near SR 39. He said he quickly grabbed a garden hose to keep his lawn wet, but he was told to leave his home by fire officials.
"That is when we started getting a little worried," Wilkinson said.
While Wilkinson didn't have any damage to his home, Toni DeHerrera, who also lives on 1350 South, wasn't so lucky. While her home didn't catch on fire, her wooden fence was burned, her siding was melted and her windows were cracked.
DeHerrera said the field in a subdivision below her had three-foot-tall weeds growing up to her fence line, which she said only helped to fuel the blaze. She said that the land developer had said they would cut down the weeds, but they continued to grow and dry out.
"They just haven't done anything," she said.