Fire conditions forecast continues to be bleak as firefighters battle flames on 3 fronts

A photo taken from Toquerville, Utah, shows smoke rising from the massive West Valley Fire on Pine Valley Mountain on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Sarafina Amodt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — As three large wildfires actively burn in Southern Utah, critical fire weather conditions are expected to continue early this week.

A red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service advises of high winds and low humidity throughout a large portion of southwest Utah Monday and Tuesday. The advisory area includes the regions where fire personnel are actively working to manage the three wildfires, none of which have yet to be fully contained.

Active fires in Southern Utah

Map shows the perimeter of the West Valley Fire Washington County, Utah, as of July 1, 2018, with surrounding road and trail closures | Image courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

In Washington County, the West Valley Fire in Pine Valley has grown to 9,983 acres in size as of Sunday, according to the U.S. Forest Service fire information officer Julie Thomas. There have been 449 personnel dispatched to fight the fire, which, as of Sunday morning, is zero percent contained. No evacuations have been ordered, but some trails and roads have been closed.

Read more: West Valley Fire triples in size as national team arrives to assist

The Black Mountain Fire in Iron and Beaver counties has reached 90 percent containment as of 7 p.m. Sunday. The fire stands at 5,998 acres in size and is expected to be fully contained by Monday, according to Bureau of Land Management fire information officer Nick Howell. There are currently no evacuations ordered, but roads leading into the fire area will require a personal escort by fire personnel.

Read more: Black Mountain Fire spares Minersville, but still actively burning; officials determine cause

In Sevier County, the Willow Patch Fire burned through several thousand acres over the course of the weekend and currently stands at 50 percent containment with 4,551 total acres burned as of 6 p.m. Sunday, according to Utah Department of Natural Resources fire information officer Beth McClanahan. State Route 24 is still open in the area of the fire, but fire managers are urging motorists not to stop along the road and to keep out of the area if possible.

Red flag warning

Shaded areas denote those subject to a red flag warning from noon Monday to midnight Tuesday night | Image courtesy of the National Weather Service, St. George News

The red flag warning is in effect from noon MDT Monday to Tuesday night at midnight MDT for south-central and southwest Utah.

Regionally affected areas include the northern portion of Washington County, all of Beaver and Iron counties and portions of Garfield and Kane counties.

Southwest winds of 10-18 mph with gusts near 30 mph will develop Monday afternoon and evening. Winds will decrease Monday night then increase to 15-20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph Tuesday afternoon and evening. The winds will combine with humidity levels as low as 7-9 percent to create critical fire conditions.

The National Weather Service advises against all outdoor burning. Any fires that develop have the potential to spread rapidly.

Read more: Dixie National Forest officials warn of fire restrictions

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Real Life July 1, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    All human caused. Until the idiots that start these fires are harshly dealt with, you can expect much more.

    • Bender July 1, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      We’re gonna fine stupidity and carelessness out of the population? You need to read more history.

      • Real Life July 2, 2018 at 7:51 am

        Yes. Fine the ever loving crap out of them, and lots of jail time as well. Carelessness is not a virtue. If we just fine for stupidity alone, then Dumpster here would be bankrupt!

    • Striker4 July 2, 2018 at 5:57 am

      Awww what a shame cry baby No Life got his pantyhose in a knot

    • No Filter July 2, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      In Utah with this drought, fires should banned everywhere. I can’t wait until monsoon season, then things could get really bad.

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