Main Canyon Fire: Partial containment, closures and threats remain

This Sept. 9 Forest Service photo shows the Main Fire burning in the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness of Dixie National Forest, Southern Utah, Sept. 9, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Dixie National Forest, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Main Canyon Fire burning in the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness now involves 26 acres and is 30 percent contained. Road and trail closures have been instituted as fire crews fight the fire in difficult conditions with incoming critical weather concerns.

Smoke rising from the Main Fire in the Pine Valley Mountain wilderness, Washington County, Utah, Sept. 9, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, St. George News
This USFS photo from Friday shows smoke rising from the Main Canyon Fire in the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness, Washington County, Utah, Sept. 9, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, St. George News

The fire, located in Dixie National Forest about 5 miles north of the Pine Valley community, became visible and was reported Friday, originally estimated at 57 acres. It has since been reappraised at 26 acres using more accurate mapping techniques, aircraft and GPS, a fire information news release issued Sunday said.

“Fire investigators determined lightning started the fire, likely striking days before, which ignited fuel in the vegetation beneath the main canopy of a forest,” the release states.

A Color Country Interagency Type 3 Incident Management Team under the command of Chris Henrie is currently managing the fire. Type 3 teams generally are comprised of trained personnel in various disciplines from several agencies and jurisdictions. The Type 3 team is formed and managed at the local state or tribal level for extended incidents.

As of Sunday, fire crews are building and improving hand lines around the perimeter of the Main Canyon Fire while firefighting helicopters and three engines assist in accessible areas.

The steep and rocky terrain and dense living and dead vegetation, including aspen, mixed conifer, ponderosa pine, pinyon, juniper and mountain shrubs are slowing firefighting efforts, Sunday’s news release said.

High winds are expected in the area Sunday and Monday, with red flag warnings in effect in the zones surrounding the fire.

Fire managers’ stated objectives include: suppressing the fire to reduce risk to private land and structures west of the incident; minimizing smoke impacts to the community of Pine Valley and surrounding communities; and protecting the sensitive Bonneville cutthroat trout habitat in the area.

Resources assigned to the fire’s management thus far include three Type I Interagency hotshot crews; two Type II initial attack crews; one Type I helicopter; one Type III helicopter; two engines; and 150 personnel.

The estimated cost to date associated with managing this fire is approximately $250,000, according to Sunday’s fire information release.

Threats, closures and evacuations

A private ranch and home approximately 1/2 mile from the southwest edge of the fire is threatened by the fire, the information release states.

No evacuations have been made to date.

In light of potential fire threats and to ensure public safety, the Forest Service has temporarily closed the following trails and roads:

  • Water Canyon Trail Nos. 31024 and 31013.
  • Forest Service Roads 2113, 2114, 3396, 565, 255, 252 and 011.

Resources

  • Fire information in the surrounding communities is available at the Pine Valley Post Office and Pine Valley Fire Station.
  • Dixie National Forest Facebook page

Email: jkuzmanic@stgnews.com

Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic  @STGnews

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

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