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Hidden bunkers filled with explosives found during Brian Head Fire fight

Southern Utah

BRIAN HEAD (ABC4 Utah)- New information was released Thursday about the Brian Head Fire.

Officials say during firefighting efforts, crews discovered a bunker full of explosives which eventually led them to the discovery of several other bunkers.

It all started when firefighters working in the Henderson Hill area heard what sounded like ammunition exploding in the fire.

“The firefighters first thought the ‘popping’ sounds were rocks exploding due to heat, but as the sound continued for approximately five minutes, firefighters realized the ‘popping’ sound was actually ammunition exploding in the fire,” a press release from Iron County Sheriff’s Office said.

After investigating the cause, firefighters found a bunker dug into the ground near a destroyed cabin. Inside officials say they found hand-grenades that had been altered, explosive powder, fuses, and ammunition. Eventually, officials located the owner of the cabin.

“The person further told officers he has approximately seven or eight such cabin structures and bunkers hidden throughout the area; and that most are supplied with food-storage, firearms, and ammunition, and he had built the shelters and storage caches over course of several years,” police said. 

The next day investigators hiked to each of the locations and discovered they were on public lands managed  by the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). Two of them had been burned in the fire, another was still intact.

The investigation into the cabins and bunkers is ongoing. Officials say the person responsible is cooperating with authorities. 

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