Firefighters spend 2.5 hours extinguishing 50-60 foot flames

Brush fire near the construction of Mall Bridge and Cox Farm, St. George Utah, June, 1, 2014 | Photo by Dylan Westover, St. George News

UPDATES:  This is a developing story and this post is being updated continuously as the incident unfolds and information becomes available. Refresh the page for updates.

ST. GEORGE — UPDATED 7:53 p.m.: The brush fire that began around 4 p.m. today along the Virgin River near the construction of the Mall Drive Bridge is 100 percent contained and fire crews are cleaning up the scene. No structures were damaged and no injuries have been reported at this time.

(report continues below)

Video courtesy of Aaron Olsen, St. George News

Large visible flames approximately 50-60 feet high and adjacent to the river, burned through spans of brush, and mature trees near the Springs Park and Cox Farm. The large flames had dissipated by about 6:23 p.m. and fire crews were “mopping up.”

Although amidst neighborhoods, the fire never moved close enough to threaten any homes.

Brush fire near the construction of Mall Bridge and Cox Farm, St. George Utah, June, 1, 2014 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News
Brush fire near the construction of Mall Bridge and Cox Farm, St. George Utah, June, 1, 2014 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

The nearest structures were camp trailers, ATV trailers, corrals and farm buildings located in the river bottom. The fire burned near the Mall Bridge construction zone, but didn’t cause problems to the ongoing construction project.

“It didn’t threaten any structures – it had pretty good surrounding – you had the pond on this side and the river on this side,” St. George Fire Capt. Coty Chadburn said.

“Luckily there was not the afternoon wind like we’ve been having,” Chadburn said. “If there was the afternoon wind it could have been a lot worse.”

Besides structures, the fire did spook some nearby farm animals at the Cox Farm, including some horses.

Brush fire near the construction of Mall Bridge and Cox Farm, St. George Utah, June, 1, 2014 | Photo by Corbin Wade, St. George News
Brush fire near the construction of Mall Bridge and Cox Farm, St. George Utah, June, 1, 2014 | Photo by Corbin Wade, St. George News

The fire was originally reported at 4 p.m. Sunday and when the first engine arrived on scene, there was heavy smoke and fire showing, Chadburn said.

Because of the location of the fire – down by the river – the hardest part for the fire personnel was accessing the fire. However, crews were able to find a couple roads along a river canal that gained them closer access to the fire.

Brush trucks arrived shortly thereafter as well as assistance from the Washington City Fire Department, several units from the Bureau of Land Management and a Forest Service unit.

Brooke Milne, a trainer who works with the horses stood by from a distance during the fire. She was was prevented from going down to the horses to check on them and was especially concerned about a mother horse and her baby.

“Whether the fire gets close to them or not, just smelling the smoke can panic them,” Milne said of horses she was concerned about.

Milne said:

I’m frustrated because there are some horse owners down there – so that’s wonderful, they are ready to trailer them out of there if they need to – but when it’s your own animals you just want to be there because if they tried to walk that baby out, she’d be raring and kicking and causing all sorts of problems being this afraid.

Brush fire near the construction of Mall Bridge and Cox Farm, St. George Utah, June, 1, 2014 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News
Brush fire near the construction of Mall Bridge and Cox Farm, St. George Utah, June, 1, 2014 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

Milne works with emotionally damaged horses, the mother horse in danger, being one of them.

“We’ve worked and worked to get their trust back and get them to bond with somebody and so that’s probably the biggest reason that I’m anxious about the ones that are there – the mom has been one that we know we’ll never sell because it’s very doubtful anyone will be able to give her the emotional support that she needs,” Milne said. “The baby’s doing great but she’s just a baby, she hasn’t done much.”

“We have multiple people that have horses down in here that were concerned,” Chadburn said. “Their horses were OK – mostly probably spooked by the noise that was going on with the fire engines.”

The fire was officially reported contained by 7:45 p.m.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown, Chadburn said.

St. George News reporter Drew Allred contributed to this report.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

Email: news@stgnews.com

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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9 Comments

  • Rick June 1, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    mmmm , photos are dated June 6, 2014

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic June 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Only briefly – thanks Rick – it’s June 1.

  • Cathy June 1, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Thank you for the firefighting efforts STG fire, Forestry Service and the BLM! No one seems to be upset that the BLM is there doing their job in saving property, kind of funny when so many people have been so horrible to the BLM but happy when we need them.

    • Brian June 1, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Helping fight a local fire (thanks local BLM, you guy are great!) doesn’t negate the fact that the BLM is overstepping its bounds all over the country, in many ways, at many levels. It’s like we hired a butler and after a few years the butler has half the family convinced we work for him, not the other way around. The kids can no longer play in the yard (they might mess up the lawn), we can’t grow anything in our garden (there might be a tortoise there), an old tree blew over in the wind and took out the garage (we couldn’t cut it down, a spotted owl was seen there in 1969), and the pool sits empty because the butler wouldn’t give us a water permit.

  • Delong June 1, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks firefighters! And BLM, I don’t think many people realize how much BLM does to protect our communities. Without their aircraft and other resources, we would be in trouble! You guys on the front lines are awesome!

    Be safe this summer…

  • mike June 1, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Yes thankfully the fire has been contained and no one was hurt. On the other hand I am amazed there were no auto accidents due to all the people that were scrambling to see the fire. I mean come on people!!! You act like you’ve never seen a fire before. It was truly ridiculous how many people were stopping in the middle of the road to see it. It seemed like people were rushing from all over town to see the flames. People were on their phones and looking at the fire and not paying attention to the road. Thankfully no one was hurt by these unsafe drivers trying to catch a glimpse of the flames.

    • Real Life June 1, 2014 at 11:45 pm

      Absolutely. I have never been surrounded by more rubber necking, nosey, ignorant people in my life. I actually had to tell a bunch of idiots to get the hell out of a parking lot I was working at, when some poor lady got hit by a truck and the parking lot filled up with idiots taking pictures while she was being extracted from her car! Get a life.

  • Ruth June 1, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Great reporting. Amazing photos!

  • David Dalley June 3, 2014 at 8:22 am

    They should’ve used bigger hoses. Bigger hoses means more water. More water = less fire.

    If they used 2X the water, they could have cut that time in half.

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