Left Fork fire gets second wind, burns more than 600 acres – St George News

A rapidly burning wildfire in Dixie National Forest, near Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, St George News

ST. GEORGE – An early May wildfire in the Dixie National Forest that firefighters thought was controlled has reignited due to high winds and red flag conditions, burning 600-700 acres of forest land.

A rapidly burning wildfire in Dixie National Forest, near Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, St George News

At approximately 1 pm Saturday, a wildfire in Kane County was reigned by strong winds, according to a fact sheet released by the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. The fire is 10% contained, with the wind driving it northeast to the Blubber Creek drainage.

First ignited May 9, the fire initially burned approximately 97 acres 3.2 miles west of the Podunk Guard Station, according to a Facebook post shared by Utah Fire Info. It was estimated at the time that the fire would continue “minimal, creeping behavior” within an established perimeter but current weather conditions exacerbated the situation, as reported by the fact sheet.

The fire was reportedly human-caused and is burning mixed conifer, ponderosa pine, slash piles and dead and down woody material about 10 miles southwest of Bryce Canyon National Park near Kanab Creek, the document states.

According to the fact sheet, no structures are threatened and no evacuation orders have been initiated. However, some campers left the area voluntarily.

This map illustrates the areas affected by a closure order | Image courtesy of the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, St George News

Additionally, the Division released an area closure map highlighting locations currently under a closure order.

Firefighters are working in difficult terrain and extreme weather conditions that have hampered their efforts, the fact sheet states. Southwest winds are averaging 20 mph with gusts of 35-40 mph, in conjunction with low relative humidity.

Weather conditions have grounded aviation support, including two assigned helicopters, as well as single-engine air tankers and large air tankers. 145 personnel and 4 crews have been dispatched, along with seven fire engines, one dozer and one fire tender, states the fact sheet. Responders are working to establish an anchor point and construct lines where possible.

Additionally, a Color Country Type 3 Incident Management arrived on the scene and will assume command Sunday evening, reports the fact sheet.

In a previously released fact sheet, it was reported that the rapidly growing fire had weakened standing trees, which, along with dead snags, were at risk of falling and striking firefighters.

“Firefighter safety is of paramount concern for fire managers,” the earlier fact sheet states.

The Left Fork Fire as seen from Rainbow Point at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, June 19, 2022 | Photo courtesy of Bryce Canyon National Park, St George News

The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Utah Division of Fire, Forestry and State Lands, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office are working the fire.

Additionally, Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District and Dammeron Valley Fire and Rescue sent paramedics and Emergency Management technicians to provide emergency medical care on the fire line if needed, said Mike Melton, a Fire Management Officer with the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

This is a developing story.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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