Brian Head Fire crests 70,000 acres as crews begin rehabilitation efforts

ST. GEORGE — Three weeks after the Brian Head fire started, fire crews remain busy working to contain the blaze as it reaches over 70,000 acres of burned area.

Map of Brian Head Fire as of 9:25 a.m. MST, July 8, 2017 | Image courtesy InciWeb, Cedar City News / St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

The fire has reached 80 percent containment with an area of approximately 112 square miles burned, according to an interagency incident information management system update Saturday morning.

Watch video top of this report.

Firefighters were busy Friday with burnout operations on the northern flank of the fire where the it remains active. Thunderstorms in the area increased fire behavior, which complicated aerial containment efforts. Crews were able to switch to hand ignitions in order to secure containment lines.

Burnout operations will continue Saturday, potentially increasing smoke, which may be visible to surrounding communities.

While the southern portion of the fire has died down, crews will continue to monitor, secure and mop up hot spots to reduce threats to containment lines. They will also continue to repair and rehabilitate areas of the fire impacted by suppression actions.

A burned area emergency response team has begun assessing the aftermath of the fire in order to recommend preventative treatments and emergency rehabilitation strategies of the burned areas. The team focuses its evaluation on potential threats to human life and safety, property, natural resources and cultural and heritage resources associated with post fire conditions.

Current evacuations

A firefighter hydrates while fighting the Brian Head Fire, Utah, July 5, 2017 | Photo courtesy InciWeb, Cedar City News / St. George News

The following communities remain evacuated per local law enforcement: Bear Valley, Horse Valley, Clear Creek, Little Creek Ranch, Red Creek, Second Left Hand Canyon, Co-op Valley and Little Valley. All evacuations are evaluated daily. Evacuees can contact the American Red Cross at Panguitch Lake for more information.

Closures

Five Mile and Three Mile Roads are closed due to fire activity. The Dixie National Forest has an area closure on lands north of state Route 143. Removal of hazard trees along SR-143 will continue, which may result in short delays on the road.

Resources

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Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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