Utah Range Fire Accidentally Started by Police During Target Practice Burns Nearly 3,500 Acres

A fire in Utah accidentally started by police has burned nearly 3,500 acres.

The Range Fire, which sparked near Utah's Provo Canyon, has incinerated 3,450 acres, with 10 percent contained, according to the latest report Monday on the Utah Wildfire Info state government website.

The fire, which began Saturday, was caused by a police target shooting incident, Utah Wildfire Info confirmed Monday.

"Investigators have determined that the human-caused Range Fire originated at the Orem Police Gun Range and was caused by target shooting. The Orem Police Officer who was present when the fire started is cooperating with officials. The investigation is on-going; more information will be released as it comes available," Utah Wildfire Info said Monday.

Orem officials said in a statement: "In addition to the state's review of this case, the city of Orem is currently conducting an internal review and safety audit into the matter as well. This information will be released as soon as it is completed."

Fire activity was reported to be minimal overnight, with its growth "significantly slowed by natural features," while the southeast corner of the blaze has been secured, Utah Wildfire Info said Monday.

All residents in Utah's Sundance area are under a "pre-evacuation notice," Utah Wildfire Info said Monday.

Close to 15 homes in and around the mouth of the Provo Canyon were under direct threat from the fire and evacuated Saturday afternoon. They were allowed to return to their homes the following morning, Utah's Deseret News reported.

Several park and road closures have been announced in various parts of the affected area.

#RangeFire in Provo canyon near #BridalVeil. Media newsrooms, check your email for more video. If I missed you on the email, text me and I’ll send you the link to 8 clips. pic.twitter.com/PAk2hOmsij

— Utah County Sheriff (@UCSO) October 19, 2020

All local parks running along both sides of U.S. Route 189 are closed, including Canyon Glen Park, Canyon View Park, Mount Timpanogos Park, Nuns Park, Bridal Veil Falls/Park and the Upper Falls picnic area, Utah Wildfire Info noted in a post on Twitter.

Provo River trail is closed from the mouth of Provo Canyon to Vivian Park and the "Dry Canyon trailhead is closed, along with #049 Dry Canyon Trail and #033 Little Baldy/Great Western Trail," Utah Wildfire Info tweeted.

Utah Wildfire Info added: "Highway 189 is open; one right lane remains closed traveling westbound from mile post 14, the SR-92 junction, to 800 North in Orem for firefighter safety. Please drive with caution in the area.

"SR-92 is closed in both directions from Highway 189 to the turn off for SR-114 Cascade Springs Road, only local traffic is allowed through," Utah Wildfire Info noted on its website.

There are currently four active large fires burning in Utah (including the Range Fire), which have collectively burned at least 93,961 acres of the state, according to the latest report Monday by the National Interagency Fire Center.

The other three fires include the East Fork fire in the Ashley National Forest (at least 85,232 acres, 69 percent contained) as well as the William fire (at least 5,832 acres, 96 percent contained) and the Fire Canyon blaze (at least 1,460 acres, 10 percent contained) in the northeast region of the state, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Trailers, Utah fire, evacuations, 2017
People removing trailers down Highway 143 from homes evacuated due to a wildfire on June 25, 2017 outside Panguitch, Utah. A fire caused by police target shooting near Utah's Provo Canyon has burned nearly 3,500 acres since Saturday. George Frey/Getty Images