WASHINGTON COUNTY – A large plume of smoke reaching high into the sky could be seen for miles after a fire ignited in the Dixie National Forest near the Oak Grove campground Tuesday.
Fire managers were alerted to the Oak Grove Fire, located about 13 miles north of St. George, after 11 a.m. The blaze is estimated to be around 100 acres – the equivalent of 100 football fields – and, as this report is published, the fire is zero percent contained.
The 100 acres was the estimate as of 2 p.m. The Forest Service later reported that the fire had grown to 200 acres by Tuesday evening.
As resources poured into the area from the Bureau of Land Management and Leeds Area Fire Department and Hurricane Fire District, the Oak Grove Campground, located three miles southeast of the fire, was evacuated as a precautionary measure.
Fire units and personnel set up a staging area and incident command along a stretch of Forest Service road 031, which was also located two miles south of the fire. While there is no imminent threat to the Oak Grove Campground, fire managers said, there is continuous fuel for the fire to spread to the campground.
According to a news release from the Washington County Emergency Services, Forest Service road 032 to Oak Grove and Oak Grove Campground have been closed.
“We don’t have anyone on the fire yet at this time due to extreme fire behavior and steep, rocky terrain,” Washington County Fire Warden Adam Heyder said around 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Heyder said air support had been called in to help slow the fire down before any boots were put on the ground in the area.
The fire will be handed over to a local Type 3 incident team from Color County Fire Interagency, Heyder said, and will likely set up a new command post at the Leeds Area Fire Department. Two hot shot crews have also been requested to aid with the fire.
The fire is believed to be lightning-caused, yet remains under investigation at this time.
Local resources on scene are four engines from the Forest Service, Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands Utah State, and Bureau of Land Management.
“Once air attack is on scene, we will have more accurate information and provide updates,” fire managers said in the statement from Washington County Emergency Services.
Fire managers are advising the public to avoid the area.
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