Brush fire, downed line knock out power to New Harmony residents

Fire responders work to mop up a brush fire that burned 2 to 3 acres, New Harmony, Utah, June 20, 2015 | Photo by Nataly Burdick, St. George News

NEW HARMONY — The west side of New Harmony lost power Saturday in connection with a brush fire that burned about 2 to 3 acres of land.

Fire responders work to mop-up a brush fire that burned 2 to 3 acres of grass, New Harmony, UT, June 20, 2015 | Photo by Nataly Burdick, St. George News
Fire responders work to mop up a brush fire that burned 2 to 3 acres, New Harmony, Utah, June 20, 2015 | Photo by Nataly Burdick, St. George News

Just before 7 p.m. Saturday, Harmony Valley Fire District received a report of a fire at 558 N. 1100 East in New Harmony.

While responders aren’t positive about the cause of the fire, Fire Chief Greg Gonzalez said it appears to have started on the side of State Road 144, possibly from a downed power line.

It is possible, however, that the fire caused the power line to fall, Ryan Riddle, fire warden for the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, said.

As it burned, the fire spread onto private property, but the lot was empty so the damage was contained to grass on the lot.

Most homes west of Interstate 15 in New Harmony lost power from the fallen power line. As of 8:30 p.m., Gonzalez estimated it would take about an hour to get power back to the town.

The fallen power line that possibly caused a brush fire, New Harmony, UT, June 20, 2015 | Photo by Nataly Burdick, St. George News
The fallen power line that possibly caused a brush fire, New Harmony, Utah, June 20, 2015 | Photo by Nataly Burdick, St. George News

It will take weeks or possibly months for the state to be sure what the cause of the fire was, Riddle said.

If it had been later in the summer, Gonzalez said, the grass would have been drier, possibly causing the fire to spread more quickly and reach homes near the empty lot.

Gonzalez also said he was glad it wasn’t windy, which could have caused the fire to spread farther, as well.

The fire actively burned for about an hour, Gonzalez said. Responders put out the flames with firetrucks and hand tools.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Harmony Valley Fire District were the first to respond, with the Cedar City Fire Department responding shortly after.

The Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands and the Bureau of Land Management also responded to help with mop-up and investigation.

Burnt brush and grass around a fallen power line, New Harmony, UT, June 20, 2015 | Photo by Nataly Burdick, St. George News
Burnt brush and grass around a fallen power line, New Harmony, Utah, June 20, 2015 | Photo by Nataly Burdick, St. George News

The westbound lane of State Road 144 was closed for over an hour as  responders attended to the fire, but this did not cause much of a traffic impact.

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

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Email: nburdick@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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