1,500-acre wildfire near Beaver reaches 20% containment

ST. GEORGE — A lightning-caused wildfire burning near Beaver has consumed over 1,500 acres since last week. Fire managers report that the fire is 20% contained as of Monday.

A smoking haze rises from the area of the Skull Flat Fire, Beaver County, Utah, June 30, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, St. George News

Located 5 miles east of Beaver, the Skull Flat Fire ignited last Tuesday and has burned 1,517 acres, according to the Color Country Interagency fire group.

The fire was originally estimated to be around 2,000 acres, with the size being revised once aerial mapping took place, said Kayli Yardley of the U.S. Forest Service.

So far, the fire is not threatening any structures, and no road closures or evacuations have been ordered.

Fire managers have allowed the fire to burn through certain areas in order clear out excess fuels that could pose fire threats in the future. It is also believed the fire will help improve the Beaver City Watershed as well as rejuvenate an aspen grove.

Read more: Forest Service letting wildfire burn near Beaver in hopes of regenerating aspen grove

Skull Flat Fire burn area, Beaver County, Utah, June 30, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, St. George News

As a smoke-control measure, firefighters have used helicopters to help the fire burn quicker and cleaner as opposed to ground-based, hand ignition practices that can take longer and result in lingering smoke, Yardley said.

Large plumes of smoke occurred the first two days firefighters “heli-torched” the fire, Yardley said, which has subsequently resulted in a reduction of smoke. Instead of massive plumes, smaller wafts of smoke can be seen rising from the area.

Using the helicopters also allows firefighters to get to areas otherwise inaccessible on foot.

Some isolated pockets of smoke are expected to remain visible for several days.

Firefighters have also been engaged in creating “control lines” meant to help guide the fire to pre-burnt areas where no fire fuels exist so it can ultimately burn out.

As the fire is burning in the area of state Route 153, the public is encouraged to be watchful for fire personnel and equipment during the Independence Day weekend. There are currently 149 firefighters assigned to the Skull Flat Fire.

Updates and information about the fire can be found at InciWeb.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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