Lightning strikes cause brushfires near Zion, Gooseberry Mesa

A fire crew from the Color Country Interagency gathers before hiking into a fire last week, Arizona Strip, Arizona, July 4, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ZION NATIONAL PARK — Two small brushfires near Zion National Park and Virgin Town were started by lightning strikes Sunday.

The first fire only burned a tree, and went out quickly. It started a little before 2 p.m. just south of Virgin. Although the Color Country Interagency Fire Center sent crews to monitor the small fire, it had no spread potential, according to Color Country Dispatch, and quickly burnt out.

The second fire was slightly bigger. It started late Sunday afternoon near an area known as Gooseberry Mesa. Color Country sent crews to fight the brushfire which was about one quarter-acre in size, Assistant Center Manager Tina Greenhalgh said, and expected to be fully contained by 5 p.m. Sunday.

Firefighters working on the Gooseberry Mesa fire are reporting that there are still thunderstorms in the area, Greenhalgh said.

The Gooseberry Mesa fire burns on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management approximately 3 miles east of Virgin Town and almost 2 miles south of state Route 9.

This fire is not threatening structures and has so far required two engines, but no aviation resources.

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