NEW HARMONY – The now 1,826-acre New Harmony Fire is 70 percent contained as of Thursday evening.
The fire started at 1:50 p.m. near New Harmony on Wednesday, and spread quickly through the area, prompting evacuations. Later that afternoon the fire jumped the freeway, which led to evacuations west of I-15 in Kanarraville.
Evacuees were sent to evacuation centers in Kanarraville and Cedar City. Red Cross teams from Washington and Iron Counties were on hand to render aid.
Nick Howell, the New Harmony Fire information officer, said fire activity has primarily been on the west side of I-15.
Evacuations are still in effect for the Bumblebee Ridge subdivision west of Interstate 15 due to flair-ups and problematic fire behavior Thursday. Evacuees from the subdivision are expected to be able to return home by noon Friday. They can be escorted in to their homes tonight and tomorrow morning to gather any belongings they may need with the assistance of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Kanarraville, east of I-15, and New Harmony evacuations have been lifted.
I-15 and state highways 91 and 144 are now open. Center Street west of I-15 is still closed due to the evacuations.
Howell said that fire crews are making good progress on the fire, and that a Color Country Type III Team has assumed management of the fire.
Thus far seven structures have been lost, along with 22 outbuildings and numerous vehicles.
Various structures are still threatened. Still, many homes were saved due to what Howell described as good “defensible space” on private land, coupled with vegetation treatments on state and Bureau of Land Management lands and effective firefighting efforts.
The cause of the fire has been confirmed to be a water pump malfunction.
One firefighter was burned with first and second degree burns Thursday. He was treated and released at a local hospital. No further injuries have been reported.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.