SOUTHERN UTAH – At least 11 lightning-caused fires have ignited in the Color Country Dispatch area of southwestern Utah and northern Arizona since Tuesday.
“We’ve had 600 lightning strikes in the last 36 hours,” Joe Harris, Dixie National Forest public affairs officer, said.
Based out of Cedar City, Color Country Dispatch coordinates wildland fire suppression in southwestern Utah and northern Arizona. New on the agency’s radar Wednesday night was a fire sparked on Quail Hill, out on the Arizona Strip, which is visible from St. George. The fire, which started around 6 p.m. Wednesday, is estimated to cover at least 150 acres at this point, Harris said; that number is just an estimation at night, however – fire crews won’t be able to get more precise information until daylight.
“They’ll have some more accurate numbers tomorrow when they can get a helicopter up,” Harris said.
Other fires continuing to blaze in the midst of the extreme lightning activity are the Middle Ridge fire, which started on the Nevada side of the Utah-Nevada border, about 5 miles south of Beaver Dam State Park in Nevada. Once ignited, this fire burned across the state line into Utah and has been reported to cover more than 100 acres, according to information from Color Country.
Additional large fires burning in the area include the Bull Mountain fire, located about 3 miles north of Enterprise Reservoir, which is covering around 80 acres. The Basin fire, located about 8 miles north of Gunlock, is covering between 60-80 acres.
Other fires have also been reported near Enterprise Reservoir, Utah Hill, Gunlock, Jackson Wash, Motoqua, Quichipah and Wolf Hole.
Since June 18, fire restrictions have been in place in Washington County as well as in areas of Mohave and Coconino counties in Arizona. On July 1, fire restrictions were put in place in Iron County, Kane County and areas of Garfield and Beaver counties.
Drought conditions continue in the Color Country area, and these regional storms have been accompanied by very little precipitation. Fire crews worked through the night Tuesday and were back early Wednesday morning attempting to suppress the various fires.
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