ALPINE, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Where the Quail Fire has burned there’s not much left other than barren trees and charred ground, a perfect canvas for another major catastrophe – mudslides.
Randy Hamilton lives in Alpine, he said, “I don’t think we realize what the danger is because the mountain is so steep and we’re so close to it.”
Hamilton remembers a similar fire in these mountains a decade ago. “We’ve already had several homes that have been buried in mud after that fire just to the south of us,” said Hamilton. “That fall, during a football game, two of our neighbors had their homes filled with mud.”
Rain is expected in the region Thursday. Likely not enough to cause mudslides in Alpine but it can create a different concern for crews fighting the fire.
Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Department said, “There’s two ways to look at this, that rain would certainly help with the fire situation but rain often brings with it lightning. With these types of temperatures it could make the fire danger worse.”
The Forest Service will be keeping a close eye on the erratic winds and watching for dry lighting. As far as mudslide concerns go, they’ve already got crews up on the mountain taking soil samples to see how badly the fire damaged the soil and what can be done to repair it to keep a slide from happening in the future.
Public Information Officer Loyal Clark with the Utah Forest Service said, “They’ll look at the vegetation that’s been burned and see how severe the damage is…based on the slope and what has happened to the soil then they will recommend different types of treatments and those can include anywhere from putting in barriers to prevent mudslides to some type of re-vegetation.”
Even with new growth the scars from the last fire are still evident. Neighbors worry now about what the new landscape will look like.
“It’s such a tragedy to see the fire burn,” said Hamilton.