IVINS – A brush fire fanned by afternoon winds burned about 2 acres Wednesday in cheat grass and sagebrush at the corner of Pioneer Parkway and old Highway 91.
The fire was started by equipment being used in the Highway 91 reconstruction project. Sparks from a chop saw landed in cheat grass and the fire took off, Ivins Fire Chief Randy Hancey said.
The fire started near old Highway 91 and quickly spread across the vacant lot to Pioneer Parkway, where firefighters were concerned about another vacant lot across the street, Hancey said.
Cheat grass present in the vacant lot fueled the fire quickly, and wind was a factor in how fast it spread, Hancey said.
“We were pretty concerned with the winds,” Hancey said.
A rainy spring triggered a bumper crop of cheat grass that has now dried out and is ready to burn.
“Once it takes off, it gets up and runs,” Hancey said. “It could be a pretty serious fire year.”
Firefighters from Ivins and Santa Clara were able to reach the blaze quickly and the flames were knocked down in about half an hour, he said.
Four brush trucks from Ivins, Santa Clara, and Forestry, Fire and State Lands, the fire division of the Department of Natural Resources, responded to the fire. In addition, two construction water tenders helped put out the blaze.
Fire danger is increasing with hot temperatures, Hancey said, and residents need to be careful and avoid using any equipment that can throw out sparks near dry fuel.
The intersection is closed temporarily while workers pour concrete for a waterway as part of a 1.5-mile reconstruction of the highway from the west end of Santa Clara to 200 East in Ivins. The road is being widened, and curb and gutter are being installed.
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