West Valley Fire update: slight increase in containment, change in command

Smoke visible Thursday evening from New Harmony, Utah, June 28, 2018 | Photo by and courtesy of Holly Knight, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — The growth of the West Valley Fire has slowed significantly, officials said Tuesday morning.

Fire retardant is dropped by aircraft near the west flank of the West Valley Fire, Iron and Washington counties, Utah, July 4, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Dixie National Forest, St. George News

According to a news release issued by the U.S. Forest Service, the fire is “continuing to smolder and creep with no increase of fire perimeter.” The blaze, which reportedly burned more than 10,500 acres in its first six days since it began June 27, has spread only about another 1,000 acres since then, according to information posted on the Utah Fire Info website.

“Firefighters continue to mop up hot spots and (are) increasing the fire containment line,” the news release states, adding that the fire is about 55 percent contained as of Tuesday morning, up from 46 percent reported on Sunday.

A Type 4 Incident Command unit assumed command of the West Valley Fire at 6 a.m. Tuesday. In addition, the fire’s incident command post has been moved from Grass Valley to New Harmony, the release stated.

Read more: West Valley Fire officials update New Harmony residents on fire status

Various road and trail closures have also gone into effect or remain in effect, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

“Due to the  protection of public safety in the affected burned areas and required clean up efforts post-fire, the Dixie National Forest has enacted a temporary Special Order for the area within the West Valley Fire perimeter and trails on the Pine Valley Ranger District.”

Trails temporarily closed include the following:

  • Summit Trail at the junction of the Whipple Trail on the south end and at the junction with the White Rocks Trail.
  • Water Canyon at the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness boundary.
  • Mill Canyon at the junction with the White Rocks Trail.
  • Anderson Valley.
  • Syler Springs at the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness boundary.

Officials said the temporary special order will remain in effect until Dec. 31, or until fire managers have cleared the area for public transit. Follow the links to see the special order document and a map of the affected areas.

Fire officials are also reminding the public that smoke should still be visible from the interior of the fire for some time to come. “If you see smoke in the West Valley fire area, firefighters are continuously monitoring the fire and there’s no need to call 911,” the release states.  

Stage II fire restrictions remain in place for the area. For additional details, visit the Utah Fire Info website.

Drone use is prohibited near or over fires. Use of drones near a fire cause serious risk to firefighter and public safety. Unauthorized drones near a fire may ground aerial firefighting aircraft until the drone has left the area, inhibiting their ability to fight the fire.

Read more: Drone intrusion near New Harmony grounds all aircraft battling West Valley Fire

To keep drone pilots aware of flight restrictions, the FAA has developed an easy-to-use smartphone app called B4UFLY. The app helps drone pilots determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly. B4UFLY is available for free download in the App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android. Additional information from the FAA is available here.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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


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