Two rapidly spreading brush fires ignite near Pine Valley

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Fire crews are actively fighting two separate brush fires that are spreading rapidly in the Pine Valley Ranger District of Dixie National Forest Friday night.

Color Country Interagency Fire Management crews responded to the first fire, located 5 miles north of Pine Valley, at approximately 6:40 p.m. The second fire started shortly after about 2 miles away from the original, approximately 20 miles southwest of Cedar City.

One of the fires caused a power line to go down, causing a power outage affecting customers in Pine Valley, a representative from Washington County Sheriff’s Office said, adding that Rocky Mountain Power has been advised of the issue and has sent a technician to the area.

Smoke fills the horizon in Cedar City as the Grass Valley Fire and North Fires burn near Pine Valley, Cedar City, Utah, June 9, 2017 | Photo by Paul Dail, St. George News

Due to high winds and high temperatures, the fires are spreading rapidly.

The original fire, now called Grass Valley Fire, is estimated at 150 acres. One acre is equivalent to one football field. The other fire, referred to as North Fire, is estimated at 75 acres at the time this report was taken.

“Because we have such high winds right now, that does cause that erratic fire behavior, and it’s extremely hot still, and that definitely plays a factor into what the fire will do,” Cigi Burton, fire information officer with the U.S. Forest Service, said.

Air operations have also been suspended due to wind gusts approaching 40 mph in the area.

The cause of the fires is still under investigation, Burton said, though crews will likely be unable to ascertain the cause until it is safe to enter the area.

No structures are threatened at this time and no roads have been closed, however the public is asked to avoid traveling on state Highway 56 since wildland firefighters are actively conducting fire suppression efforts in that area.

Smoke can be seen on the horizon as the Grass Valley Fire and North Fires burn near Pine Valley, Utah, June 9, 2017 | Photo courtesy Marshall Connelly, St. George News

Engines from various agencies in Southern Utah are responding, along with Cedar City Hotshots, an Aerial Supervision aircraft, two single engine air tankers and orders have been placed for Color Country Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3 Helicopters.

For up-to-date information on this fire and other wildfires in Utah go to UtahWildfire on Twitter or visit UtahFireInfo.gov

This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Real Life June 9, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    And here we go. Fire season. Sure seems that MOST fires here start the same way. Some dumb hillbilly grinding metal, shooting televisions, or something else they should not be doing on a HOT, WINDY, day. Add a moron flying a drone and we are set.

    • comments June 10, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      sounds like you got all factors accounted for 😉

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