Brush fire threatens homes along Devil’s Saddle

ST. GEORGE — A rapidly spreading brush fire along the Devil’s Saddle threatened several homes in the area Saturday evening as firefighters worked to contain it.

Fire personnel respond to a brush fire as it approaches homes along Devil’s Saddle, St. George, Utah, April 29, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

St. George Fire was dispatched to the area of Shadow Point Drive in St. George at approximately 4:30 p.m. on report of the fire.

See video in the media player top of this report.

The flames appeared to have originated on the southern end of the saddle and spread quickly northward as the wind picked up.

“It got within 10 feet of the homes on Shadow Point Drive,” Marc Mortensen, St. George assistant to the city manager, said.

Firefighters contained the portion of the fire near the homes before moving north up the hill to the mesa, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.

Firefighters fight a brush fire on Devil’s Saddle as it approaches homes, St. George, Utah, April 29, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

“We do have a brush unit on top of the mesa, and they’ve been keeping the fire in check as it reaches those cliffs and comes up through the crevices,” Stoker said on scene while the fire was still active.

Strong winds initially complicated the situation but later worked in firefighters’ favor when they blew the other direction, pushing the fire back into itself.

“The fire was 100 percent contained at 6:10 p.m.,” Mortensen said, adding that the flames ultimately burned through approximately 15 acres.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation at the time this report was taken.

The second-alarm fire included a large response from area fire departments, including St. George Fire Department, Santa Clara Fire Department and Ivins City Fire Department.

Firefighters fight a brush fire on Devil’s Saddle as it approaches homes, St. George, Utah, April 29, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Neighborhood residents gathered along Shadow Point Drive to watch the firefighting effort.

A large portion of the previously shrub-covered hill was blackened and charred along the path of the flames.

The irregularly thick vegetation made for ideal fuel for the fire as it ate through acres of plant life, including nonnative cheatgrass.

“Due to the lack of fire over the last few years … in this area we have the grass, so it’s built up over the last few years along with the wet spring that we’ve had,” Stoker said.

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

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Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Real Life April 30, 2017 at 12:04 am

    50 bucks it was some idiot grinding on metal, or something similar.

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