Wildfire Starts Behind the U


Sean Overton

Photo by Jack O’Leary.

By Natalie Colby and Jack O'Leary

On Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, around 6:45 p.m., a large brush started in Dry Canyon behind the University of Utah hospital, and near the Federal Heights neighborhood and the Block U. The fire is spreading up the mountain, towards the peak. 

The fire was visible from the U’s campus, however, the university did not release any official mass warnings or information for students living on campus or attending classes. 

Fire crews were responding by 7 p.m. Airplanes started to drop water and fire retardants on the fire around 7:25 p.m.

Firefighters watch the fire in Dry Canyon on Sept. 14, 2020

The cause of the fire has not been discerned, however, an Arlington Hills resident that saw the fire start said bikers and hikers around the fire tried to put it out and then called the fire department. 

Around 7:30, the KUTV reported it had been named the Connecticut Fire. 

RA’s at the U reported their residents are scared they will have to evacuate, but no evacuations have been ordered at this point.

Housing and Residential Education sent out a notification to on-campus residents at 8:05 which said: “HRE Alert: We are aware of fires nearby in SLC. No impact to residents at this time. Emergency personnel are on site. Updates will be sent via text/email”

University of Utah student Sean Overton drove closer to the fire on the mountain to get a better look. 

“[It’s] pretty well contained so far and fire department [is] trying to get a handle on it,” Overton said 

Jenna Reed, a Ph.D. student at the U who lives in the Tomahawk Drive Neighborhood, said they have evacuated a few houses.

“We suddenly saw a lot of smoke [that] looked a lot closer to home and it was.. we could see flames coming pretty close,” Reed said.

At 9:13 p.m., HRE released another notification to residents.

“HRE Alert: The emergency fire departments have completed their work. An engine and crew will remain on scene for fire watch,” the notification said.

The article will be updated as more information is released and updates can be found on Twitter. 

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