Strawberry Fire burns more than 40 acres of forest near Duck Creek

Still image from a video of the Strawberry Fire burning in forest land in Kane County, Utah, July 20, 2020 | Image courtesy of Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District via Facebook, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Crews from multiple agencies are battling a forest fire that started Monday afternoon near Duck Creek Village in Kane County.

According to a news release issued at 7 p.m. Monday by Color Country Interagency Fire Management, the blaze, officially known as the Strawberry Fire, was first reported at approximately 2 p.m. in the Bowers Flat area, just north of state Route 14 and near the Mammoth Creek Road, northeast of Duck Creek.

Bureau of Land Management fire management specialist Nick Howell told Cedar City News at 9 p.m that the fire had been mapped at approximately 43 acres, down from its initial estimated size of 70 acres cited in the news release.

“Firefighters are making good progress working the fire’s perimeter to meet containment objectives using aircraft and ground crews,” the news release added. 

The blaze is burning through mostly Dixie National Forest timber land. Although there had been no containment as of Monday night, fire officials reported early Tuesday evening that the fire was 15% contained and had not grown in size since the day before.

“No new fire growth is expected today under the current weather conditions,” states an updated fact sheet sent out at 5 p.m. Tuesday. “Today’s priority is locating and extinguishing spot fires outside of the fire’s perimeter.”

By Wednesday evening, firefighters had achieved 50% containment, with the fire’s size staying at 43 acres.

“Road closures surrounding the fire area are still in effect,” Wednesday’s update stated. “Smoke may be visible for several days until isolated pockets of heat are extinguished.”

Fire managers are asking the public to continue to avoid the fire area and allow fire crews to focus on meeting containment objectives.

No structures are threatened, although some camp trailers were reportedly in danger of being damaged or destroyed. Some trailers have been successfully removed from the area.

There have been no injuries associated with the Strawberry Fire, nor are there any evacuations in effect, officials report.

On Tuesday morning, Howell told Cedar City News the cause of the fire has been determined to be lightning.

Responding firefighters include crews from Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District, the BLM and Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. Resources that have been deployed at the scene include four helicopters, two single-engine air tankers, two large air tankers, three hand crews, eight fire engines, two bulldozers and one water tender truck. Approximately 135 personnel have been assigned to the fire, according to Color Country Interagency Fire Management.

Updated July 21, 6:45 a.m. to include reported cause of fire.

Updated July 21, 6:25 p.m. to reflect 15% containment and other details.

Updated July 22, 9:30 p.m. to reflect 50% containment attained on Wednesday.

Updated July 27, 7 a.m. to include information that the Strawberry Fire was officially declared fully contained on Saturday:

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

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