We are now into Day 3 of the Dump Fire at Saratoga Springs in Utah. Our own Jayce and Neybar live near the fire, and while their homes do not seem to be in any danger, they still left work early yesterday to volunteer to help. Their experience and knowledge has undoubtedly been invaluable to the volunteer effort. They have been keeping us posted on Twitter (@JayceHall and @neybar), and I have seen several of their tweets mentioned and retweeted by others needing information. For those who haven’t been following along, you can keep an eye on the #dumpfire hashtag on Twitter. For any ham radio folks who want to monitor, they’re on 145.23 repeater (131.8 tone). NetOps is at station 2.
Cause of the Fire
It is believed that the fire was caused by people target shooting near the landfill. They were shooting in an area where it was legal to do so, and when the fire started, they called 911 and attempted to put the fire out. They have been cooperative with authorities, and have been helping the effort to put the fire out. Because they were shooting legally and did everything right after the fire started, they are unlikely to be charged criminally.
Being Prepared for Evacuation
In following news reports, I have noticed some things. When crews knocked on doors on Day 2 of the blaze to tell people they had 15 minutes to evacuate, a lot of people scrambled to pack up what they considered necessary. Family photos, pets, medications and a change of clothes. Less prominently featured in the stories were people who decided that they were going to have to evacuate, and started packing their cars long before evacuation orders came in. While I’m sure there were plenty of preppers who already had 72-hour kits ready to take at a moment’s notice, they were apparently not as newsworthy as the less-prepared. Though my family lives in Magna, far away from the fire, we still had one evacuee knock on our door asking to buy a small bottle of shampoo from my wife’s basement salon.
This incident underscores not only the importance of fire safety, but also the importance of being prepared and keeping a current 72-hour kit or Bug Out Bag. Fortunately, several local businesses pitched in to provide food and water at the local evacuation centers, but this is not always the case. Be sure to check expiration dates on the food in your kits and in your food storage in general.
Our hearts go out to those affected by the fire, and we hope that it will be out soon.