Officials determine cause of fire in Hurricane that threatened multiple homes, incinerated 2 sheds

ST. GEORGE — The fire designated as the 1450 Fire ripped through over 8 acres around 1450 West and 600 North in Hurricane on Monday afternoon and burned down two outdoor sheds and threatened about a dozen nearby homes before being contained.

Man hoses down his yard near the 1450 Fire that burned two sheds and threatened multiple homes near 600 North and 1450 West in Hurricane, Utah, May 18, 2020 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

Mike Melton, fire management officer for the state of Utah, told St. George News that just after 3 p.m. on Monday the fire was sparked by a construction worker doing some metal work. Sparks sprayed from the metal work and ignited some nearby cheatgrass.

“It destroyed two outbuildings – two sheds – and we were really lucky that firefighters were able to hold it at the 600 North road and that it didn’t spread across that road,” Melton said. “It would have been a much larger fire had that occurred.”

There were at least a dozen homes threatened initially. Smoke poured eastward, pushed by winds that topped 20 mph. Residents in the area stood outside watching the fire, and one man hosed down the ground around his house.

Melton said he didn’t know if there were any evacuations, but there were civilians everywhere.

“It happened really, really quick,” he said.

Melton said five fire engines and approximately 20 firefighters responded to the scene to fight the fire, including the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, as well as the Hurricane, St. George and Hildale City fire departments.

The 1450 Fire burns two sheds and threatens multiple homes near 600 North and 1450 West in Hurricane, Utah, May 18, 2020 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

Factors that contributed to the quick spread of the fire included an overgrowth of cheatgrass in the area, along with wind gusts up to 30 mph, low relative humidity and temperatures in the low 90s.

“The cheatgrass is just rampant everywhere,” he said. “The dry cheatgrass in wind like we had yesterday … spreads so rapidly that it is a scourge. It’s an invasive species. And it’s a real problem, especially when people park in it. … Any kind of heat or spark-producing activity or machinery or anything like that can flat out start a fire.”

Hurricane City Police diverted traffic from 600 North westward at 870 West and eastward at 2170 West.

At the same time this fire was burning, the Anderson Junction Fire was spreading rampantly.

“We wanted to make sure we caught the smallest one (fire), which we did,” Melton said. “Then as soon as we didn’t need those engines up there on 600 North, we turned around and started diverting resources from there over here to the Anderson Junction Fire.”

The 1450 Fire was contained within a couple of hours, he said. No injuries were reported.

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

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