Pine Valley fire evacuation orders to be lifted early Tuesday

In this file photo, Alta Hotshots are working on the Saddle Fire above Pine Valley on the Dixie National Forest, Washington County, Utah, June 24, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Alta Hotshots, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Evacuation orders for all Pine Valley cabins will be lifted at 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Washington County Commission and Washington County Sheriff’s Department has announced.

“After consultation with the Forest Service and Fire officials, the Washington County Commission and the Sheriff will lift all evacuation orders on all cabins in the Pine Valley area, effective 7/12/16 at 0800 hours,” a post on the Washcosafey Facebook page Monday evening said.

However, portions of the Pine Valley Wilderness area remain closed to public access due to the fire and public safety concerns. The fire stands at 2,295 acres and is 45 percent contained as of Monday. Officials estimate the fire will be contained by midnight Friday.

Fire personnel will remain in the area to monitor the Saddle Fire which began with a lightning strike June 13 in the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness  of the Dixie National Forest. Crews will continue to strengthen defensible spaces around cabins. The fire began about 2.5 miles southwest of the small community of Pine Valley, officials said.

Smoke will remain in the area and could impact those with a sensitivity to smoky conditions, fire officials said. Residents and visitors are asked to look for any unusual fire activity and notify fire personnel immediately upon any discovery, although smoke in the air is to be expected.

A warm, dry air mass has moved over the fire area with no moisture in this week’s forecast. The fire continues to burn, with some group tree torching, short crown runs and backing on steep slopes.

Fire managers cautioned that due to difficult terrain and safety concerns, the use of firefighters in a direct fire line along steep slopes will be limited. Crews will continue to mop up in contained and accessible areas of the fire.

Temporary flight restrictions are still in effect for drones, and drone operators are reminded that the flying of a drone in the fire area is a direct violation of FAA regulations. A drone sighting will halt an aerial fire attack immediately.

“We are grateful for the cooperation of residents and visitors in complying with the evacuation orders and other direction given by fire managers,” fire managers said in the release. “Those with questions can contact (435)652-3100.”

Resources

  • InciWeb Saddle Fire information
  • Information about areas closed on the Dixie National Forest can be found on the InciWeb Saddle Fire page
  • Anyone with information regarding drones flying in the area of the Saddle Fire should contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 435-634-5734

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

Email: rwayman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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