Box Elder wildfire

A lightning storm that pasted through Box Elder County late Sunday night left as many as 30 new fires burning in the west desert, including this one in the Promontory area.

A number of Cache Valley wildland firefighters are working in Box Elder County after an intense lightning storm moved through Box Elder County late Sunday night, starting dozens of fires in the west desert.

According to Box Elder County spokesman Mitch Zundel, the northwestern part of the state was peppered with hundreds of lightning strikes that ignited dry grasses. Reports of fire started coming at about 8:30 p.m., and by the time the storm had passed, Zundel said there were at least 30 different fire starts.

Box Elder County firefighters responded to the areas, and just after 10 p.m. they started calling for assistance from Cache and Weber counties.

Firefighters have responded from the Logan, North Logan, Smithfield, Hyrum, Paradise, Lewiston and Cache County fire departments.

“Approximately 15 fire engines worked through the night to protect rangeland, homes, and fences,” Zundel said.

By morning, more than 12 of the fires were fully contained and kept to an acre or less. Twenty of the fires have been named, and there are about 10 that have not been staffed, he said

The largest of the fires has been called the Russell Fire, located directly north of the Great Salt Lake. It is burning approximately 5,000 acres and is just 20 percent contained. This fire is threatening a natural gas pipeline in the area, Zundel said.

The Curlew fire burning nearby is a 4,000-acre blaze near the Utah-Idaho border, which was reportedly about 80 percent contained by late Monday afternoon.

Zundel said about 70 personnel were working to locate the remainder of the fires on Monday and bring them to full containment.

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Amy Macavinta is the crime reporter for The Herald Journal. She can be reached at amacavinta@hjnews.com.