ST. GEORGE — The Flatt Fire, a lightning-sparked wildfire that started Friday afternoon along the Old Modena Road near Beryl and spread to Enterprise, has burned thousands of acres as extreme fire weather conditions persist across much of Southern Utah.
According to a statement by Kevin Abel of the U.S. Forest Service, the fire has burned more than 14,000 acres fueled by Pinion pine and sagebrush and is 15% contained as of Sunday morning.
Fire crews continue battling the blaze with direct suppression efforts and mop-up operations to extinguish any hot spots, as well as strengthening fire lines to prevent any further spread. However, high gusty winds are expected to increase by Sunday afternoon.
Ground crews and air support made significant progress using direct suppression tactics to safeguard Enterprise. These efforts are ongoing as multiple engines and fire personnel continue to strengthen fire lines to protect the structures within the many subdivisions in the area.
On Saturday, Abel said local community members and fire officials were able to safely relocate 50 cow-calf pairs and three bulls from BLM grazing areas that were scorched in the blaze without any injury to the animals or loss to the local rancher.
Moreover, helicopters continue water dropping operations in areas of intense heat, as fire officials expect the blaze to continue moving westward with isolated torching as red flag conditions with gusty winds and low humidity remain in effect throughout the weekend.
Community and firefighter safety remain top priority for both the incident management team and the Bureau of Land Management, the forest service says.
Hot dry conditions are expected to persist throughout Southern Utah, bringing dry gusty weather that could advance fire activity.
Additionally, critical fire weather conditions including a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures could contribute to extreme fire behavior.
Stage 1 fire restrictions remain in effect, meaning campfires and charcoal briquettes are allowed only in designated areas and smoking is limited to inside of enclosed vehicles, buildings and developed recreational sites, or while stopped in any area with a clearance of at least three feet from any flammable materials.
Multiple resources continue to battle the blaze, including more than 210 personnel, four hot shot crews, three hand crews, 14 engines, four bulldozers and two water tenders. Air support continues with three types of helicopters and a water-dropping aircraft.
Update June 21, 2 p.m. As of Monday morning, the fire is listed at 14,379 acres and 50% contained.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.