Smoke rolls into Washington County as multiple fires burn

A picture looking south onto the smoke plume from the Antelope and Path Rock Fires, June 26, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — According to the National Weather Service, the smoke that has rolled into St. George is the result of two fires near the border of Millard and Beaver counties with some also coming from the 71,420-acre Mangum Fire in northern Arizona.

The Path Rock and Antelope fires started around 4:30 p.m. Thursday and have burned an estimated 9,000 acres combined.

The Path Rock Fire is estimated to have burned 6,000 acres while the Antelope Fire has burned around 3,000 acres. Hannah Lenkowski, public affairs specialist for the Bureau of Land Management Utah’s West Desert District, confirmed that the response to the fire is transitioning toward a type three incident command team.

“What we have out there is mostly grasses, and then we have some sagebrush, just brush in general and a handful of junipers,” Lenkowski said. “Certainly we have a good plume of smoke from all of the images.”

There are currently 162 fire personnel working on the Path Rock Fire with 109 fire personnel on the Antelope Fire, which she characterized as an aggressive initial attack.

She added that crews from the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, the state of Utah and Millard County have all been involved in the efforts to fight the two fires. There are also six single-engine air tankers and three large air tankers giving some aerial support.

According to a press release from the BLM, both fires were caused by lightning.

The Mangum Fire in northern Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest dropped in containment from 68% to 46% on Friday. The fire has been burning for over two weeks.

The National Weather Service gave some clarification on where the smoke seen in Washington County is coming from, saying that a general northeast wind is circling into a low-pressure system just south of Las Vegas. As a result of the wind conditions, the smoke is most likely a result of the Mangum, Path Rock and Antelope fires.

Utah Interagency Smoke Coordinator Paul Corrigan agreed, saying that the Brown Fire, just south of Ely, Nevada, is also adding to the smoke in Washington County. The Brown Fire started on Wednesday and has burned 8,268 acres.

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

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