3 Oct 2010, 9:19am
Latest Fire News
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Sheriff says FS fire politics are putting homes and lives in danger

by: Noah Bond, ABC4 (SLC), 10/01/2024 [here]

BEAVER COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - New accusations are surfacing about why the Twitchell Canyon fire continues burning 74 days after it started. Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel suspects politics are putting lives and homes in danger.

He says in an October 1 meeting The U.S. Forest Service admitted it could have put the fire out in the first 24 hours but chose to let it burn.

Now the fire is visible from space, has burned 44,000 acres and has cost The Forest Service more than $15 million of your federal tax dollars to fight.

“Now next year they’re going to be able to go back to Washington and say, ‘Hey, this is the amount of money we used last year on these fires. We’re going to need the same amount this year,’ so it’s kind of a way to beef up their budget, but I don’t know if they’ll admit to that,” said Noel.

Sheriff Noel suspects The Forest Service is putting its desire to boost its budget above the safety of the 6,000 people he is sworn to protect in Beaver County. Noel is making the claim because, year after year, he says The Forest Service lets fires get out of hand just like it did with the Twitchell Canyon fire.

“They had the resources there. They probably could have had that fire out probably with in 24 hours, but they chose not to do that and that happens frequently,” said Noel.

He says this must stop! “The 911 calls that I got into my office. People were terrified. They thought for sure their home was going to burn up,” Noel said.

No homes have burned in Beaver County, but Noel says a few were lost in neighboring counties. The fire has caused havoc on his own County in other ways. “We had to shut down I-70. The smoke came into this community. It affected the Elderly people here,” Noel says they complained of headaches and of trouble breathing.

A frustrated Sheriff is crying out for help, hoping The Forest Service will hear him and the people in his County. … [more]

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