Saddle Fire Update: Cold front through area may bring strong winds

In this file photo, the Saddle Fire burns on the Pine Valley Mountain of Dixie National Forest, Washington County, Utah, June 23, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kaelyn Smith (extended at edges); St. George News

ST. GEORGE — As firefighters continue to deal with the flames, heat and drones in the Pine Valley Wilderness where the Saddle Fire continues to burn 2,291 acres by latest reports, fire managers face the emerging concern of strong erratic winds forecast for the region Sunday.  Another community meeting is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. for those impacted by the fire.

Flying drones near wildfires are not safe | Flyer courtesy of United States Department of Agriculture, St. George News | Click on flyer to enlarge
Flying drones near wildfires are not safe | Flyer courtesy of United States Department of Agriculture, St. George News | Click on flyer to enlarge

The latest update from the Bureau of Land Management in Utah says that the fire has now consumed 2,291 acres and is still only 42 percent contained, while 228 personnel remain on the fire lines.

Fire crews continue to use indirect line construction around the perimeter of the fire, removing fuels to prevent the fire from spreading east toward the Pine Valley Recreation Area and south toward the Dammeron Valley area.

Firefighters are also going direct on the fire, improving lines in some areas of the fire, including the north and west perimeters.

Drones continue to be a problem on the Saddle Fire. When a drone is sighted in the fire area all air operations are grounded until it is determined safe to fly again. If you fly, they can’t and the safety of the firefighters is greatly affected.

Washington County and the Northwestern Special Services district have put up a $2,000 reward and residents of Dammeron Valley have raised an additional $350 for the arrest and prosecution of the drone flyer. Any information on the drone and operator should be directed to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at (435) 634-5730

Voluntary evacuations remain in place in Pine Valley south on Lloyd Canyon Drive at the Mahogany Lane intersection and south on Oakridge Drive and Mahogany Lane.

The road into Pine Valley is only open to property owners. Area closures in and around the Pine Valley area remain in effect on the Dixie National Forest. The Pine Valley Recreation Area also remains closed to all uses.

A public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday evening at the Pine Valley Fire Station, 680 East Main Street, Pine Valley to facilitate dialogue between community members and firefighters.

This photo was taken from above mountian meadow Sunday, showing smoke blowing into the valley. Washington County, Utah, July 10, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Amanda Amidan, St. George News
This photo was taken from above mountian meadow Sunday, showing smoke blowing into the valley. Washington County, Utah, July 10, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Amanda Amidan, St. George News

Email: rwayman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

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

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