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
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.
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.
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
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.
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