ST. GEORGE – Bureau of Land Management Color Country Interagency Fire Center received a call from St. George Fire Department at around 5 a.m. today alerting a fire burning approximately 2 miles north of St. George and Red Hills Parkway on the west side of Interstate 15 and about one mile east of SR-18. Reports vary between 50 acres and 63 acres burning at last assessment.
No roads are affected at this time.
Micah Suwyn, of the United States Forest Service, designated Fire Information Interagency Officer for this Red Hills Parkway fire, says that the fire is human caused and is under investigation.
BLM dispatcher, Ken, adds that the land status is undetermined. “Land status meaning,“ he explains, “whether it is within St. George Incorporated city limits, or Cedar City BLM property.” He indicated that it does seem to be within the Red Cliffs Reserve as they have contacted the resource director for the tortoise reserve.
Suwyn says the they haven’t received the shake file yet, that a lot of different land owners have put property into the Red Cliffs Reserve (for example BLM), so that assessment will follow.
Considerable air support has already been provided, including air attack, single engine air tankers and one type 3 helicopter. BLM’s dispatcher Ken says that aircraft is presently back on the ground, on hold for now; which means, he says, that they are sitting there but are ready to go up again as needed.
“The big concern for the firefighters right now is that the area burning is a steep rugged terrain, accessibility to the fire itself is pretty tough,” says BLM’s dispatcher Ken.
“Definitely, there are no roads or anything in there, and it is really rocky rough terrain,” confirms Suwyn.
Although containment hasn’t been identified yet, Suwyn says that they received good response through the Interagency Fire Center and were able to get it taken care of quickly. He said it seems they have pretty much got a line around it through the air support efforts.
There is a red flag warning for the Utah side this afternoon, due to low relative humidity and high winds forecast. Red flag conditions are something to watch as anytime you have a fire situation combined with those conditions you face the possibility of the fire going big.
“But,” Suwyn says, “it is not really a concern for this fire at this moment and containment appears likely.”
copyright St. George News 2011