ST. GEORGE – Two lightning-caused wildfires are burning on the Arizona Strip within 30 miles of St. George. While the Wolf Hole Fire is 100 percent contained, the Sand Cove Fire is being monitored but allowed to burn.
The Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip Field Office is managing both fires, which have grown in size since they were first reported.
The Sand Cove Fire is located 30 miles southwest of St. George within the Paiute Wilderness of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, and the Wolf Hole Fire is approximately 10 miles south of St. George on the Arizona Strip near Hodgets Canyon.
Wolf Hole Fire
The Wolf Hole Fire was spotted Tuesday, just 10 miles south of St. George near Hodgetts Canyon on the Arizona Strip.
With winds gusting and the fire relatively close to St. George, fire managers took an aggressive approach and called in four single-engine air tankers.
“A fire like that, in that vegetation type, with those conditions could travel really quickly,” Rachel Carnahan, public affairs officer for the BLM Arizona Strip District, said.
The fire is burning in dry grasses, brush, pinyon and juniper in difficult terrain; these factors, in addition to its proximity to St. George, contributed to the decision to manage the fire for full suppression.
The fire started at 5 acres and has grown to 7 acres, but it is now considered 100 percent contained, meaning the fire is still burning but there is a fire line all the way around it.
No roads have been closed in connection with this fire, but the public is urged to use caution in the area.
There are 32 people working on the Wolf Hole Fire – one hotshot crew of 20, a Type 3 Moki Helitack helicopter with a crew of seven, a Type 4 engine with a crew of four, and an incident commander.
Sand Cove Fire
The Sand Cove Fire is located 30 miles southwest of St. George in the Paiute Wilderness area of the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument. The 57-acre fire is located in a fire-adapted landscape and is being allowed to burn, but it is being monitored to ensure it does not get out of control.
“Historically, lightning-caused fires have existed in the Paiute Wilderness area,” Carnahan said. “Scientists and specialists study the landscape, and through the research, come up with a prescription for what that landscape looks like when it’s healthy.”
The Sand Cove Fire is burning in brush, pinyon and juniper; there are no closures related to the fire, but the public is urged to use caution if traveling in the area. Seven people are working on the fire: two engine crews and an incident commander.
Many factors go into fire managers’ decisions about a particular fire, Carnahan said, including budgets, availability of resources, proximity to structures and urban interface areas, the health of the landscape, and the ecosystem and the difficulty of the terrain.
“And firefighter safety is always No. 1,” Carnahan said.
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