Pine Hollow Fire leads to closure of Wire Pass trailhead and walk-in permits for the Wave

The Pine Hollow Fire burns in the evening, location unknown, July 29, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Inciweb, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Pine Hollow Fire, 20 miles east of Kanab, has burned 11,373 acres and has a containment size of 58%

One of the fire’s Public Information Officers, LaDawn Saxton, said the 58% containment is thanks to the work of crews on the east side of the fire, as well as some help from decreased fire activity. She added that the most active part of the fire is the southwest portion.

“There are still areas where we are trying to get line completed,” Saxton told St. George News. “They are working diligently to try and get this fire buttoned up so we can transition into a type 3 team maybe at the end of the week.”

A type 3 team would mean a scale back in crews and the de-mobilization of other crews and resources. There have been no new personnel fighting the Pine Hollow Fire at this time.

With smoke from fires in California rolling into Southern Utah, the smoke has actually helped stabilize the atmosphere and aid in the decreased activity. The smoke mimics cloud cover and Saxton likened it to putting a lid on a candle.

Crews respond to the Pine Hollow Fire that was sparked by lightning near Kanab, Utah | Photo courtesy of Inciweb, St. George News

“We got pretty lucky with the smoke from California that came and laid into this valley pretty heavily,” Saxton said. “That allowed the activity of the fire to lay down. When that happens, that gives the firefighters a big advantage. That’s why we see the 58% containment right now.”

The northern side of the fire, in Utah, is where the Wire Pass Fire previously burned. That fire led to the closure of house Rock Valley Road and the Wire Pass trailhead. Now the Pine Hollow Fire is doing the same. Walk-in permits for Coyote Buttes North and the Wave have been suspended in response.

The southern end of the fire is burning near areas that were impacted by the Mangum Fire as well. Saxton spoke to just how flammable the fuels are.

“Due to the drought, the hot temperatures, the wind and the low relative humidity, those fuels dry out extremely fast,” Saxton said. “If they don’t have moisture, they seem to get dryer as the time goes.”

As for the closure of the popular Wire Pass trailhead that connects to the Buckskin Gulch trail and the Wave, Saxton said they have seen good compliance out of people following the closure. There have been no reports of anyone trying to get into those highly trafficked trails, as well as the Stateline Campground, and there are also law enforcement officials monitoring the closures.

While the permits are important, Saxton emphasized that it is not the biggest focus right now. Crews are hoping to get a handle on the fire soon. There has also been no damage to the campgrounds or trailhead to Saxton’s knowledge.

For more on closures due to the Pine Hollow Fire, click here.

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

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