Firefighters squash short-lived fire in desert reserve

Firefighters responded to a short-lived fire in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, St. George, Utah, June 6, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Not every fire the St. George Fire Department runs to is a big one or lasts that long for that matter. Such was the case when firefighters ventured into the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve to put out a small collection of spot fires along a road Monday evening.

Around 8 p.m., personnel on an Intermountain Life Flight helicopter heading back from a search and rescue operation in the Pine Valley Mountain area spotted two-to-three small fires along the “Old Dump Road” located in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, St. George Fire Battalion Chief Darren Imlay said.

The Life Flight crew alerted the St. George Communications Center about the fires and the St. George Fire Department was dispatched to the scene.

“We came up with a brush truck and an engine and knocked them down pretty quickly,” Imlay said.

A track of scorched brush along the Old Dump Road in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, St. George, Utah, June 6, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A track of scorched brush along the Old Dump Road in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, St. George, Utah, June 6, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The small fires, part of which torched about 150 feet or more of brush along the roadway, was put out by 8:20 p.m.

“Our concern was it would spread into the desert tortoise habitat and continue to spread if we didn’t stop it quick,” Imlay said.

Winds whipping though the area were also a concern for firefighters, he said.

A power substation nearby could have come under potential threat if the fires had been allowed to spread into the reserve as well.

The cause of the fire is unknown, Imlay said, though it is suspected it may have been caused by sparks from a loose chain from a trailer being dragged on the paved road by a passing vehicle.

No injuries were reported in connection with the fire.


Read  more: Human attention means fire prevention: Tips to stop human-caused fires


This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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