Wildfire burning south of St. George expected to reach full containment Monday

A brush truck from Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire District and a helicopter from the Arizona Department of Public Safety at the Frehner Canyon Fire burning in Mohave County, Ariz., Aug. 10, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Andre Ojeda, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A fire burning 25 miles southwest of St. George is expected to be fully contained by the end of the day Monday.

The Bureau of Land Management announced Saturday afternoon that the Frehner Canyon Fire had been 50% contained. As of Sunday afternoon, the fire was closer to 60% contained and currently sits at 226 acres.

According to the Fire, Weather and Avalanche Center, however, the Frehner Canyon Fire has a high-to-extreme chance of growing larger in the next 24 hours due to high temperatures, decreased humidity and increased wind speeds.

The fire was ignited by lightning Thursday evening and quickly spread, reaching over 1,500 acres at its peak, according to Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire Battalion Chief Andre Ojeda.

Fire crews were able to contain the northeast side of the wildfire just before 4 p.m. on Saturday. The fire is primarily fueled by grass and bush.

A single engine air tanker drops fire retardant on the containment line of the Frehner Canyon Fire in Littlefield, Arizona, Aug. 10, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management by Kern Valley Hotshots, St. George News

Although the fire is not a threat to any structures, designated Paiute wilderness, Mojave Desert vegetation and critical habitats of the desert tortoise are in danger.

Fire personnel have been using single engine air tankers to drop fire retardant and maintain control of the containment line.

Officials are asking the public to refrain from flying drones over or near the fire, as it can impact wildfire suppression operations.

Firefighting aircraft generally fly at low altitudes and are considered to be in the same airspace as public drones, increasing the risk for a mid-air collision when drones are present.

Flying unauthorized drones near the location of the fire could force fire managers to ground aircraft – like air tankers and helicopters.

Lyndsay Fonger, a fuel specialist with the U.S. Forest Service, has taken command of the incident but will transition back to the local unit upon full containment.

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

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