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Brian Head Fire Starter Speaks

Brian Head Fire Starter Speaks
June 22
11:30 2022
By Eli Joseph
For the first time, the man responsible for starting a wildfire that consumed more than 71,000 acres is speaking out on the conflagration’s fifth anniversary.
Robert Lyman says he only meant to burn piles of downed trees and branches, commonly known as slash, to create a defensible space around his cabin near Brian Head in southern Utah.  “It just started,” he observes, referring to the fire.
What Lyman didn’t realize was that the fire was also burning underground in a thin layer of organic material.
Sheldon Wimmer, a former state fire management officer, confirms Lyman’s lack of intent to do any harm.  “It just got away from him,” says Wimmer.  “He had done everything to protect the surrounding land.”
Brian Head had to be evacuated after high winds occurred later in the day.  Says Town Marshal Dan Benson, “Lyman was doing what he could with what he had when the first fire engines arrived.”
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