UPDATED: Anderson Junction Fire reaches 100% containment, SR-17 reopens

Flames burn brush near the Toquerville, Utah, exit of northbound Interstate 15 in Anderson Junction on May 18, 2020. | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

TOQUERVILLE — A fire near Toquerville that burned more than 350 acres and destroyed two structures was partially contained Monday evening. State Route 17, which had been closed throughout the afternoon, was reopened at 8:30 p.m.

A DC-10 air tanker makes a drop on the Anderson Junction fire near Toquerville, Utah, on May 18, 2020. The plane made a nearly two-hour round-trip from Phoenix, Arizona, for the one drop. | Photo courtesy Tammy Hunter Henderson, St. George News.

The cause of the fire were sparks from a vehicle dragging a chain on state Route 17, Mike Melton, the area management officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, told St. George News.

Two structures described as outbuildings were destroyed in the fire, while a third was damaged. For a time, 20 homes in the area were evacuated. However, around 9 p.m., the all-clear was sounded for the residents to return to their homes.

More than eight fire agencies from throughout and four retardant-dropping aircraft – including a DC-10 air tanker that flew nearly two hours round trip for one drop – fought the flames near the Toquerville exit of the northbound Interstate 15.

Fire crews continued to put out flare-ups into the night of the Anderson Junction Fire near Toquerville, Utah, on May 20, 2020. | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

As night fell, several points of flames looking almost like tiki torches could be seen on the hill above the Toquerville exit of the northbound I-15. Firefighters continued to rush to the flare-ups with their hoses.

Firefighters will remain on scene to monitor and stop any flare-ups through the night.

Meanwhile, cones blocking SR-17 have been removed and it is open to traffic again.

As of Wednesday morning, the fire was 100% contained and stood at 786 acres in size.

Update May 20, 12 p.m. Updated with the latest information about the size and containment of the fire.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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