Wolf Den Fire Reclamation Project Receives Award

The Division’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program (AMRP) received an award for work completed on the Wolf Den Fire reclamation project in the Uintah Basin. The National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs (NAAMLP) publicly recognized Utah for the exemplary physical safety hazard mitigation in the reclamation of abandoned hard rock mines. AMRP staff were presented with the nation’s highest achievement at the NAAMLP annual conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. Steve Fluke, AMRP manager and AMRP Archaeologist Seth Button attended the banquet and accepted the award.

In 2012, a lightning strike in the Wolf Den Range resulted in a range fire at the Black Dragon gilsonite site. The seam, old timber supports and gilsonite pillars, and waste piles of gilsonite on the surface caught fire. The heat resulted in secondary surface fires, and since hot gilsonite is ductile, like asphalt, as well as flammable, streams of melting gilsonite ran like ribbons of lava. 

The Utah AMRP chose a closure approach using prepared sediment as fill. The fire was snuffed and open trenches were filled using material obtained from the borrow area and treated with water. This closure addressed not only the hazard of the slow-burning fire and flows of gilsonite, but hazards from smoke and physical hazards. 

Earth work started in July 2015 and was completed in October 2018. The total construction cost was $146,335. Mark Wright served as the OGM project manager.