Officials say Range Fire started at Orem police gun range

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The Range Fire burns near the mouth of Provo Canyon on Sunday, Oct. 18. Officials say the fire was caused by target shooting at the Orem Police Department on Saturday, Oct. 17. (Utah Fire Info)

The Range Fire in Utah County was caused by target shooting at the Orem Police Department gun range, officials said Monday.

“Investigators have determined that the human-caused Range Fire originated at the Orem Police Gun Range and was caused by target shooting,” a Utah Fire Info press release said. “The Orem Police officer who was present when the fire started is cooperating with officials. The investigation is on-going; more information will be released as it comes available.”

The fire, which started Saturday afternoon, has burned 3,450 acres as of Monday morning and is currently 10% contained, according to officials.

In addition to the state’s investigation, Orem City officials announced Monday they were “conducting an internal review and safety audit into the matter as well.”

“The city recognizes the strain this unfortunate event has placed on the community and appreciates the community’s ongoing support,” an Orem City press release said.

According to the release, the Orem police gun range has been operating since 1986 and is used to train Orem police officers and other law enforcement officials in the area. Neither Orem City nor state officials released any additional information concerning the fire’s start.

The fire spread quickly Saturday from the Orem foothills into Provo Canyon, forcing a number of road closures in the area. U.S. Highway 189 was closed Saturday evening and Sunday, but reopened Monday with a westbound right lane closure from the State Route 92 junction to 800 North in Orem. Both directions of S.R. 92/Alpine Loop remain closed between U.S. 189 and Cascade Springs Drive except for local traffic, according to officials.

Additionally, some homeowners near the mouth of Provo Canyon were evacuated Saturday evening but were allowed to return Sunday morning. All residents in Sundance currently remain under pre-evacuation notice.

Air quality is another concern for Provo and Orem residents as smoke continues to spread across the valley. Provo fire officials encouraged locals Sunday morning to stay indoors with all windows and doors closed.

“Provo will have poor air quality for the next 24-48 hours,” Provo Fire & Rescue said via Twitter. “Only run your air conditioner if you have an HVAC system with a recirculate mode or close the outdoor intake damper. Avoid any strenuous activity outside.”

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