WASHINGTON CITY – Warm Springs, also known as “The Boilers,” in Washington City was the sight of a short-lived brush fire Friday afternoon.
Around 2:40 p.m., the Washington City Fire Department was alerted to a small brush fire practically across the street from their fire station on Buena Vista Boulevard. Firefighters quickly responded to the fire, the majority of which was burning behind the fence surrounding the Boilers spring.
Washington City Firefighter Kelly Lang, who had command of the incident, said it is currently unknown how the fire started, but that it spread quickly on the west side of the spring and made its way up to the fence line. The fire fed on weeds and overgrowth, Land said, and also began to scar two trees caught in the fire’s path. However, Lang said, he didn’t believe the trees were seriously harmed by the short-lived blaze.
Though it was a short fire, Lang said it wasn’t a good sign to see a brush fire this early in the year. Due to low snowpack and a generally dry winter, there is a worry among wildland fire officials that this year’s fire season may prove dangerously active.
“It’s a pretty ominous sign for how the year’s going to go,” Lang said. “It’s not even hot yet.”
Warm Springs has a long history of being a swimming hole for area residents until the late 1990s when it became associated with drug and alcohol used. Due to this and other concerns, Washington City fenced off the area for purposes of public safety in 1999.
While firefighters were busy mopping up the fire and watering down hotspots, Nicole Warner, who represents a group seeking to preserve the Warm Springs and nearby Millcreek Canyon, arrived after being told about the fire by a friend.
Warner said she and others had visited the spring Monday and noted the gate was locked. However, she said firefighters told her there was no lock on the gate when they arrived. Lang confirmed the story, though added not having to deal with a locked fence helped them get to the fire quicker.
One fire engine, two wildfire trucks and seven firefighter responded to the scene.
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