Authorities suspect children started brush fire in Sand Hollow Wash

ST. GEORGE – Fire crews responded to a brush fire in the bottom of the Sand Hollow Wash Monday evening that authorities said may have been started by children.

A fire burns in a field near Snow Canyon High in St. George, Utah, May 7, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Around 8 p.m., the St. George Fire Department responded to the call and came upon a fire that was “quite large” in the wash set between Tuweap Drive and 2400 West, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.

Read more: News short: Brush fire burning near Snow Canyon High School

While St. George Fire crews set up on Tuweap Drive on the east side of the wash, fire units from the Santa Clara-Ivins Fire Department were deployed on the western side of the wash. St. George Fire called them in for mutual aid, Stoker said, which went a long way in helping to contain the fire.

While the St. George Fire units dealt with the brush fire, units from Washington City Fire helped cover parts of St. George.

Tuweap Drive was shut down to through traffic to help ensure the safety of the area, Stoker said. Sometimes people passing by will be fixated on looking at the fire and cause a car wreck – which has happened before, he said.

Firefighters from the St. George and Santa Clara-Ivins fire departments respond to a brush fire in the Sand Hollow Wash near Snow Canyon High School. Authorities suspect the fire was started by children, St. George, Utah, May 7, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Traffic on 2400 West was able to pass though the area, though many cars were parked on the sides of the road as bystanders went to the wash’s edge to watch the firefighters and were occasionally being hit with wafts of thick smoke while doing so.

Though the flames were largely out by 8:20 p.m., firefighters remained at the scene to douse any lingering hot spots and contain what little was left of the fire.

The fire did burn “pretty rapidly,” Stoker said, adding that they’ve responded to fires in this wash before. The suspected cause was nothing new either, as witnesses said they saw some kids running out of the wash once the fire started.

“We’ve had several fires over the years in this wash and it has generally been from kids playing with ignition sources – matches, lighters, that sort of thing, building campfires,” Stoker said.

As for the kids who may have started the fire, Stoker said St. George Police officers have been interviewing the witnesses for additional information.

A fire burns in a field near Snow Canyon High in St. George, Utah, May 7, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Unlike previous instances of fire in the wash, Stoker reported no one was injured this time. While the fire was near homes on Tuweap Drive, no structures were in danger, Stoker said.

“This is a great outcome,” he said.

Due to the high temperatures and dryness anticipated to roll in with summer, Stoker asks the public to be careful when engaging in outdoor activities involving fire or even the creation of random sparks like those that can be created during construction and metal work.

If someone is going to engage in these activities, it is recommended that they keep a source of water nearby – like a bucket or hose – to put out any potential fire before is gets a chance to really start.

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

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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1 Comment

  • Dennis May 8, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    It is bad enough when Mother Nature sends us a fire caused by lightening but when pyromaniacs (whether children or adults) start a fire, it needs to be dealt with as a criminal offense. Carelessness in putting out a campfire is no excuse. The fire on 91 south of the Sivwits reservation caused by children playing with matches, Brian Head last summer, the trooper set fire and now this one. We are burning up the beauty that is Utah. SAD!

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