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Tollgate Fire Caused By Vehicle

The Tollgate Canyon fire started Monday July 30th and burned 287 acres. Fire containment is now at 90%. Now officials know the cause of the flames.

Summit County spokesperson Krachel Murdock says officials have discovered the cause of the Tollgate fire.

“The cause of the Tollgate fire has been identified as a vehicle-cause fire. Investigators have also tracked down the vehicle responsible for starting the fire.”

Details about how the vehicle started the fire are not yet fully known. No charges have been filed at this point, but Murdock says that is something the county is still looking into.

Firefighters employed a preventative backburn Monday afternoon to prevent the Tollgate fire from jumping over I-80. The loss of vegetation on the hills near the I-80 Westbound lanes means crews are closely watching what will happen next.

“Obviously with rains over the past couple of days we’re keeping a close watch on the area. Now that we’ve burned off all of that vegetation it does increase the potential for landslides and so that’s something we’ve been keeping a closer eye on.”

Murdock says the county has been working with UDOT and Tollgate’s HOA to be prepared should landslides occur.

“We’ve been keeping close watch and then obviously in communication with both UDOT as well as the HOA to talk about what we can do to be aggressive in the case that anything should happen. We did see new rains and we did not have any problems and so now with the rains passing through we are in a better place.”

Although the rain is raising potential concerns for landslides it did have a positive effect on the fire.

“Due to those over-night rains all resources have been released. (Summit County Fire Warden) Bryce Boyer and Travis Wright from the state are going to continue to monitor the site for the next couple of days. They will be in the area and containment levels are staying at 90%.”

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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