Lightning sparks new fire on Arizona Strip; MGC Complex Fire near containment

A fire crew from the Color Country Interagency gathers before hiking into a fire last week, Arizona Strip, Arizona, July 4, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – As the MGC Complex Fire nears containment levels, a new fire has ignited on the Arizona Strip.

The Middle Bench Fire

Located around 70 miles southwest of St. George in the Grand Wash Cliffs, this new fire, like the others reported thus far, was ignited by a lightning strike. The fire started around 2 p.m. Tuesday and has burned up to 150 acres, according to a statement from Middle Bench Fire Information Officer Rachel Tueller.

“Due to the remote location of this fire, access to the fire is by air only,” Tueller said.

Resources used in fighting the fire so far have included five single engine air tankers, one heavy air tanker, one Type 3 helicopter Moki Helitak, eight smoke jumpers and one tactical water tender.

Status of the MGC Complex Fire:

Management of the three fires making up the MCG Complex Fire – the Middle Ridge, Greek Peak and Cottonwood fires – has been downgraded from a Type 2 Incident Management Team to local agencies as of Wednesday morning.

“One local Incident Commander will assume responsibility for both the Middle Ridge and Cottonwood Fires, which are located in Nevada, and another will command the Greek Peak Fire, located in Utah,” Jesse Bender, a public information officer for the incident management team, said in a statement. “The fires will be monitored until fully contained – likely before the end of the weekend.”

This is expected to be the final update on the three fires unless a significant change in fire activity occurs, Bender said.

Middle Ridge Fire, 10,304 acres, 89 percent contained

No new information.

Cottonwood Fire, 1,127 acres, 90 percent contained

One helicopter will be reassigned from the MGC Complex to both the Middle Ridge and Cottonwood Fires. Additional local resources will be patrolling the two fires and taking action as necessary on any flareups or hot spots.

Greek Peak Fire, 761 acres, 95 percent contained

A flight over the Greek Peak Fire was conducted today with infrared technology, and only minimal heat was detected. The fire will now be managed by Cedar City resources, including one helicopter that has been reassigned from the Complex.

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