UPDATE: Mt. Emma fire grows from 194 acres to 3,295 acres in 3 days

Image courtesy BLM Arizona Strip District
Image courtesy BLM Arizona Strip District | Click image to enlarge

ST. GEORGE – The Mt. Emma Fire on the Arizona Strip has grown to more than 3,200 acres Saturday, and fire managers are responding with more manpower and equipment to fight the blaze.

The lightning-caused Mt. Emma fire began Wednesday afternoon in the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, part of the Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip District, and burned into the Grand Canyon National Park Thursday.

The fire has grown dramatically, from 194 acres Wednesday when it was first viewed; to 2,043 acres by Friday; and 3,295 acres on Saturday.

“Due to yesterday’s high temperatures, the fire had an active period last night around 6 p.m. which contributed to its growth,” BLM Arizona Strip District Public Affairs Officer Rachel Carnahan said.

The fire quieted down overnight, but Saturday’s high temperatures were expected to result in more fire activity and growth, Carnahan said.

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 fire was transitioned to a Type 3 Incident Management Team Saturday morning.

Resources on the fire now include one Type 4 Engine, two hot shot crews, and an air tanker and air attack. The Cedar City Air Center and Mesquite Tanker Base are providing aerial support.

“We are continuing to use direct and indirect suppression tactics due the extreme difficulty and remoteness of the terrain which makes logistics challenging,” said Carnahan.

We have to take into account firefighter safety first and balance that primary objective with fire management objectives.”

Direct and indirect tactics includes fire personnel working on the edge of the fire, or removed from the fire in an area which allows them to fall back to a road or a natural barrier for safety.

The fire is burning in open Ponderosa pine and pinyon and juniper; in the footprint of the 1999 Emma Fire which burned 1,286 acres, and northwest of the 2005 Tuweep fire which burned 1,866 acres.

There are no road or trail closures anticipated at this time. The public is urged to use caution when traveling in the area.

Smoke may be visible from St. George and Kanab, and from Fredonia and the North and South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

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