UPDATED: Utah wildfire burns closer to homes after hundreds evacuated

An aerial view of the fire burning through timber and grass on Cedar Mountain, Mammoth Creek Village, Utah, June 5, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service/Dixie National Forest, St. George News

CEDAR CITY (AP) — A wildfire burning in Southern Utah has triggered the evacuation of almost 300 homes and burned within a mile of some structures as strong winds threatened to fan the uncontrolled blaze, officials said Sunday.

Several structures in Mammoth Creek Village remain threatened as the fire continues to spread, June 5, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Joe Hamblin, St. George News

The fire south of the village of Mammoth Creek near Cedar City was burning in stands of ponderosa pine and douglas fir trees. It had burned one square mile (640 acres) by Sunday afternoon.

The cause of the fire, which was ignited Saturday, remained under investigation, according to information provided by the Dixie National Forest.

Wind gusts of up to 35 miles an hour were forecast across much of Southern Utah, raising the risk of wildfires spreading rapidly.

Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins tweeted Sunday: “No loss of homes in Mammoth creek due to the forest fire as of yet. The forest service is doing everything they can to protect homes in this area. We are so lucky to have these kind of resources and men and women that are working so hard.”

In an earlier interview with St. George News, Dixie National Forest Public Affairs Officer Kevin Abel said the fire is still spreading and that more help was on the way.

“It’s been a long day already,” Abel said. “Our priority right now is getting everything we need, while ensuring the safety of our firefighters, the public, utilities and structures.”

Fire managers have requested that people avoid the area to allow fire resources to access the fire. At last report, resources on the fire included 14 engines, 3 single engine air tankers, an air attack plane and five crews, Abel said.

“(The fire) was getting bigger every time there was a break in the trees,” said eyewitness Joe Hamblin. “I imagine it’ll get worse before better right now.”

St. George News Reporters Ammon Teare and David Dudley contributed to this story.

Updated June 7, 10:30 a.m. – FEMA authorizes funds to help fight Mammoth Fire; still at 0% containment

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