WASHINGTON COUNTY – Air support called into help combat the Oak Grove Fire has begun to drop fire retardant around the lower parts of the fire to keep it from spreading. Aerial mapping of the fire Thursday morning has also put the size at over twice it’s previous estimate.
The lightning-triggered Oak Grove Fire now stands at an estimated 770 acres. The fire started late Tuesday morning and is located near the Oak Groves campground in the Pine Valley Wilderness of the Dixie National Forest. The fire is also burning on steep and rocky terrain.
“The aerial fire retardant (red slurry) and helicopter water drops used in aerial operations appears to be holding well in the lower two-thirds of the fire this morning,” said Eric Eastep, Oak Grove Fire incident commander.
Eastep said he is not anticipating this to be a long-duration fire and is hopeful that Thursday’s operations will bring success to increase the percentage of fire containment.
As of Thursday morning, no estimate of containment has been given by fire officials.
However, once parts of the fire are contained, firefighters will begin to be put on the ground to help stamp out the blaze, said Marcia Giles, Dixie National Forest public information officer. Until then, air operations will continue.
Two hotshot fire crews have been called in to help combat the fire.
As the fire is close to a water shed that provides water to the City of St. George and other municipalities, Giles said, fire managers are working to contain the fire as fast as they can so it doesn’t reach the water shed.
Thus far, no strictures are threatened by the fire.
In addition to Oak Grove Campground, Forest Service Road 32 to Oak Grove has been closed, and additional road and trail closures are anticipated.
Agencies involved in battling the fire include the U.S. Forest Service; Bureau of Land Management; Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands; the Leeds Area Fire Department; and Hurricane Valley Fire District.
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