There’s a lot about the Bald Mountain and Pole Creek fires that was unexpected, defying decades of know-how that fire officials brought to the challenge of fighting them.
Nobody expected drenching rain that failed to douse the flames. They were surprised by strong, gusty winds that spread the flames for 10 of 11 days and how the fire season heated up in mid-September, rather that tapering off.
In the end, the fires burned together, scarring 120-thousand acres last August and September and becoming the second-largest wildfire in Utah history.
Now, after eight months of studying what went wrong, forest officials say in a report released last week that the most important lesson of the last summer might be that they need to coordinate their wildfire information better.