ALPINE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Hot bullet fragments are what caused a mountainside to go up in flames over the weekend, forcing more than 120 people out of their homes.
Officials told ABC4 Utah’s Brittany Johnson that people were shooting a .50 caliber weapon at a nearby target — they missed and hit a rock instead. The bullet fragments are what started the Water Tower Fire.
“It actually got hot enough where the bullet got almost liquid hot and it started the fire,” explained Shayne Ward, the Public Information Officer for the Water Tower Fire. “We just need to be aware that anything that can throw hot fragments. It can start a fire — especially when it’s 100 degrees out and relative humidity is really down — we’re just prime for any fire.”
The Forest Service has completed their investigation into the fire and will turn the case over to law enforcement to determine if, or what charges will be applied.
The Water Tower fire, which started around 8:00 p.m. Saturday, is now 25 percent contained and has burned 397 acres. Looking at the hill Monday, there’s mostly just smoke left in the area.
“Most of the fire activity is on the upper half, upper-third portion of the slope, and all that intensity is well away from any of the homes that were threatened earlier in the fire,” said Ward. “It is a wildfire, it is still active, so Mother Nature will do what she wants to do. But we have crews up there on that only active portion and you can see in the background we still have helicopters flying here and there.”