Riggs Fire grows as it burns in part of Bryce Canyon National Park

Smoke from the Riggs Fire, Kane County, Utah, Sept. 10, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A fire burning in parts of Bryce Canyon National Park and the Dixie National Forest has grown in size and reached an area where firefighters can now access it.

Originally reported at 42 acres last week, the Riggs Fire has grown to 306 acres as of Monday, according to a Tuesday press release from the Color Country Interagency Fire group.

Due to the fire burning in a remote area with poor access and safety zones for firefighters, fire managers have allowed the fire to continue burning for the ecological benefit of the area.

Smoke from the Riggs Fire, Kane County, Utah, Sept. 10, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, St. George News

The fire continues to burn in a moderate manner that is clearing old dead and woody biomass from the forest floor, yet retaining many of the large diameter trees, according to the press release.

As the Riggs Fire has recently burned into an area accessible to firefighters, fire managers have begun to call in additional resources for fire suppression.

“Firefighter and public safety are always our number one priority when fighting fires and we will do everything we can to be successful especially limiting the exposure to our firefighters in rugged areas with few to no safety zones, very poor access, and limited aircraft to support a full suppression operation.” said Angie Bullets, Dixie National Forest supervisor.

A new fire has also ignited 1.5 miles north of the Riggs Fire and is estimated to be 2 acres in size as of Monday. Called the Lonely Fire, it is also burning in an area overseen by Bryce Canyon National Park, the Dixie National Forest, as well as the Bureau of Land Management Kanab field office.

Like the Riggs Fire, the Lonely Fire was ignited by lightning, and while the Lonely Fire is relatively new, the Riggs Fire has been burning since Aug. 25 when it was first discovered.

Both fires are being managed by 12 fire personnel with a Type 3 Incident Commander coming in to takeover fire management. Incoming resources include a 20-person hand crew, two fire engines and a helicopter.

Closures have been issued for trails in the Dixie National Forest and Bryce Canyon National Park.

In the national forest, trail closures begin at the Grandview Trail from the Willis Creek junction to Lower Podunk. In Bryce Canyon the Riggs Spring Loop Trail has been closed.

No injuries have been reported in connection with the fire and no structures are currently threatened due to the remote location.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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

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