Wildfire reaches 54 percent containment, evacuation threat lifted

The Hicks Creek Fire is burning about 3 miles southwest of Cedar City, Iron County, Utah, Oct. 17, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, Cedar City News / St. George News

CEDAR CITY – After working around-the-clock for four days, fire crews are finally more than halfway to containing the Hicks Creek Fire.

The fire, located southeast of Cedar City, started early Monday morning at approximately 500 acres and within 48 hours had more than doubled to 1,111 acres.

The fire was still only 37 percent contained early Thursday but by Thursday night, fire crews were able to increase containment to 54 percent.

“They’ve made a lot of progress today on the fire,” said Jason Curry, public information officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

All threats of evacuations have been lifted in the Cedar Highlands area and homeowners in the Shurtz Canyon area, previously under evacuation orders, have been allowed to return home, Deputy Incident Commander Nick Howell of the Color Country Interagency Fire Center said.

Rainfall is forecast for the area Sunday, Curry said. Meanwhile, just in case it doesn’t rain, fire crews are preparing to conduct a controlled burn of about 200 acres in the area closest to the road in order to get the fire there under control.

“It’s an area that’s really tough to get to and it just keeps moving and moving. So what we’re going to do is just burn it out to where it burns to the road and then we meet in the middle so we can fight it from there with fire breaks,” Cedar City Fire Chief Mike Phillips said. “And none of the trees will be burned because we’re going to go underneath, but we have to prepare to do this and it’s a process that takes awhile.”

However, the measure is not likely to be needed if it rains, Howell said.

There are currently 300 firefighters on the ground in the Shurtz Canyon area where the fire is located. A Type 3 Incident Management Team is managing the fire for full suppression. Many of the aircraft and resources including the Hot Shots being used to fight the fire came from California.

Resources from the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Cedar City Fire Department and Iron County Sheriff’s Office have assisted on the fire.

Email: tsullivan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

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

 

 

 

 

 

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