Arizona Strip fire jumps to 2,043 acres, Sand Cove fire is stable; caution urged

The Mt. Emma Fire has burned more than 2,000 acres, Arizona Strip, Arizona, June 25, 2015 | Photo courtesy Alan Syphus, Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip, St. George News
The Mt. Emma Fire has burned more than 2,000 acres, Arizona Strip, Arizona, June 25, 2015 | Photo courtesy Alan Syphus, Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Mt. Emma Fire, burning on the Arizona Strip since Wednesday, has grown from 194 acres to 2,043 acres in size, and fire managers are responding with more equipment and manpower.

“The fire experienced an active burn period throughout the day and the majority of the evening,” Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip District Public Affairs Officer Rachel Carnahan said.

Fire personnel continue to assess the fire to determine the best suppression tactics, she said.

The rough terrain the fire is burning in makes it difficult for crews to safely access the fire, Carnahan said, and so both direct and indirect suppression techniques will be used on the fire in order to maintain safety for fire personnel.

The Mt. Emma Fire has burned more than 2,000 acres, Arizona Strip, Arizona, June 25, 2015 | Photo courtesy Alan Syphus, Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip, St. George News
The Mt. Emma Fire has burned more than 2,000 acres, Arizona Strip, Arizona, June 25, 2015 | Photo courtesy Alan Syphus, Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip, St. George News

The Mt. Emma fire was caused by lightning, and smoke from the blaze was first reported by field staff at the Black Rock Lookout Wednesday. The fire started about 4:40 p.m. and is located about 75 miles southeast of St. George.

The Mt. Emma fire is burning in the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, which is part of the BLM Arizona Strip District. The fire began burning into a remote part of the Grand Canyon National Park Thursday morning.

Resources currently assigned to the fire include one hotshot crew, one Type 2 initial attack crew, seven Great Basin smoke jumpers, one Type 3 helicopter and one Type 6 engine.

The blaze is burning in open Ponderosa pine, pinyon and juniper. Flame retardant was dropped on the fire Thursday night.

The fire is burning within the footprint of the 1999 Emma Fire, which burned 1,286 acres. It is also located northwest of the 2005 Tuweep fire, which burned 1,866 acres.

There are no road or trail closures anticipated at this time; however, the public is urged to use caution when traveling in the area of a wildfire.

Smoke may be visible from St. George.

Wolf Hole, Sand Cove update

The Wolf Hole Fire, located 10 miles south of St. George near Hodgets Canyon, was first spotted June 16. Due to gusting winds and close proximity to St. George, firefighters took an aggressive approach and called in four single-engine air tankers.

The fire started at 5 acres in size and grew to 7 acres; however, it was quickly contained and has now been declared fully extinguished. 

The 57-acre Sand Cove Fire is located 30 miles southwest of St. George, Utah at the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.

The Sand Cove Fire is located in a remote, fire-adapted landscape, Carnahan said, and the fire is not actively burning. Rather than trying to suppress the fire, fire managers are simply monitoring it.

Caution is urged

With the recent wet spring and the resulting vegetation growth, fire danger is high throughout Southern Utah and the Arizona Strip.

In Washington County, there is a long history of wildfires in the late spring and summer months; most of them caused by humans.

“We are all responsible for preventing wildfires. Drivers should take a few extra precautions to prevent roadside fires from igniting,” Arizona State Forester Jeff Whitney said in a previous interview. “It can be as simple as ensuring your trailer tow chains are secure and not dragging on the ground.”

With approach of the fire season, agencies are reminding residents, visitors and motorists of things to pay attention to in order to prevent wildfires.

For more tips on fire safety at home or out in the wild, see: Wildfires: How you can stop them before they start

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Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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