UPDATED: Firefighters say sparks from a Hurricane salvage yard produced towering smoke that could be seen for miles

HURRICANE — According to fire officials, sparks from a grinder at a salvage yard sparked a brush fire, dubbed the “Pecan Fire” outside of Hurricane that produced a tower of dark smoke that could be seen into the St. George area Wednesday.

Updated June 10, 9 p.m. Added video and more information on current status of the fire and more on the source of the fire.

Mike Melton, the area management officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, said an individual using a welder sparked the fire in a salvage yard filled with old cars that spread to the dry grass nearby.

The fire, which started around 5:14 p.m., burned around 5 acres and threatened multiple structures, stored vehicles and pressurized gas tanks.

As of 9 p.m., fire officials said the fire, about 1 mile west of Sand Hollow Road and Turf Farm Road, was 80% contained. The fire remained smoldering with some white-gray smoke that was a far cry from the tower of black smoke that could be seen for more than 15 miles.

Smoke soars above the Pecan Fire in Hurricane, Utah, June 10, 2020. | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

A total of 75 salvaged vehicles were destroyed in the blaze.

Other than some equine evacuations, there were no other evacuations needed and no injuries were reported. A triage unit did arrive from Hildale to provide relief and refreshment for the firefighters.

A group that had to evacuate their horses from a nearby stable correlated Melton that the fire was started from sparks that came from the salvage operations.

The witnesses said those on the site were junking cars and using welding equipment without the use of water, and the sparks started the fire.

A cow grazes near the flames of the Pecan Fire in Hurricane, Utah, on June 10, 2020. | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Flames lept above the junked vehicles while cows continued to graze nearby. Despite a column of dark black smoke arching into the sky that could be seen all the way in St. George with leaping flames at their base, the scene was quiet yards from the fire itself except for a farmer still grazing with a tractor across the dirt road and the group with their horses.

That quiet was occasionally broken by the popping of the pressurized gas tanks on site.

The Virgin River also provided a barrier to the flames.

By around 7 p.m., firefighters appeared to have a handle on the fire, as the dark smoke gave way to a white-gray haze and the flames subsided.

Dark smoke from the Pecan Fire can be toweing above farmland in Hurricane, Utah, on June 10, 2020. | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

As the sun was setting, containment continued as firefighters were continuing their work into the night.

Multiple fire departments responded to help suppress the blaze. Along with Hurricane Valley Fire and Police, fire companies from Washington City, St. George, Colorado City and the Utah Division of Natural Resources were on scene and used a ladder truck, nine engines and three water tenders to battle the blaze.

Other agencies on the scene were from Hildale, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

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

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