ST. GEORGE — With lowered wind speeds and somewhat favorable conditions on Friday and Saturday, firefighters have been able to contain the southern, eastern and western edges of the Mangum fire, but the northern sections remain the most active areas. According to Gerry Perry, the Mangum fire information officer, the fire has burned a total of 64,509 acres and was 4% contained as of Saturday night.
Perry also confirmed that the fire was human-caused.
“We know it’s human-caused but fire investigators are working at that and they have not given us any indication of what the cause may be,” Perry said.
678 people continue to work on the fire. The conditions are expected to continue to include low humidity, high temperatures and very unstable atmospheric conditions. These give the fire an opportunity to continue to grow. But without high winds, the conditions should help fire crews on the ground to some extent.
“The fuels are very dry as well, the percentage of moisture content in those fuels is way down in the single digits in many cases,” Perry said. “The high temperatures we have been experiencing and very low relative humidity has combined to make pretty ideal burning conditions for the fire, particularly in the afternoon. The good thing is we’ve had several days now of much diminished winds, which has really helped a lot.”
The fire’s northern spread is being limited by a Bureau of Land Management winter road which was then expanded using bulldozers and other equipment to limit fire fuels along the road. The same tactic is also being used on House Rock Road as the fire moves south. Both of the fire breaks have helped manage the fires spread while crews are busy working on other areas of the fire.
There are some structures that are in danger because of the fire but as of now, Perry confirmed that there have only been four structures lost towards the beginning of the fire near Mangum camp. These included two older cabins and two out buildings. He also added that the Jacob Lake area is beginning to become more secure.
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