As the summer of 2020 comes to a close, multiple US states are still reeling from intense, destructive wildfires. One of these was the Turkey Farm Road Fire in July, which burned up thousands of acres in Utah. Months later, authorities say they know who to blame for the blaze and have since arrested three teenagers and one parent in connection with the fire.
The Turkey Farm Road Fire
KUTV reports that the fire began at 9:10 pm on Monday, July 13. Helped along by what Utah Fire Info called “erratic winds,” the flames consumed 11,700 acres of land — roughly 18 square miles — by 10 pm the following night.
By the time firefighters contained the blaze on July 20, it had reached a total of 11,993 acres. Suppressing the fire reportedly cost over $2.5 million, according to the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
A Criminal Cause
#TurkeyFarmRoadFire Update: Investigators have determined that the fire was caused by fireworks. Fireworks are NEVER allowed at anytime of the year in the area where the fire was ignited. #ffslkw pic.twitter.com/KqCms1ZTqq— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) July 14, 2020
Before firefighters extinguished the inferno, investigators determined that illegal fireworks had caused it. Taking to Twitter on July 14, Utah Fire Info announced that three teenage suspects were wanted in connection with the fire. Reportedly, they were spotted driving in a white sedan in the area of the blaze’s origin.
Investigators on the #TurkeyFarmRoadFire are asking the public for help identifying the individuals responsible for starting the fire with fireworks. Suspects: 3 teenage males seen driving a white sedan on Cottonwood rd around 9 pm on July 13th. Contact 435-704-4456 with info.— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) July 14, 2020
Over two months later, the Color Country Interagency Fire Management has announced that public tips have led them to identify the three teens.
“Interagency fire managers and law enforcement officials want to thank the public for the helpful tips that led to the identification of suspects and the successful conclusion to the Turkey Farm Road Fire investigation,” a statement from the agency read.
The three teens, who authorities have not publicly identified, are now facing a laundry list of charges. These include obstruction of justice in a criminal investigation, providing false information, using fireworks in a restricted area, and reckless burning.
Police are also charging one of the teens’ parents, who also remains anonymous, with obstruction of justice.
Meanwhile, the region has braced for a lengthy and costly recovery from the devastating fires.
“[E]xtensive rehabilitation efforts are required to stabilize and restore the burn area,” the statement from Fire Management continued. “Land management agencies will pursue cost recovery for the fire suppression and rehabilitation costs incurred by the American taxpayers.”