Sand Cove fire threatens Gunlock area, cuts power to residents

ST. GEORGE — A wildfire has broken out in the area to the east of Gunlock. The fire, which was reported at 8:25 p.m. Sunday, has so far burned over 15 acres, according to the Color Country Fire Center.

Trees and large shrubs would catch fire along with the brush growing on the hillside, Gunlock, Utah, July 11, 2021 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

The fire has been dubbed the Sand Cove fire, and is burning on the hillside between Gunlock and Lower Sand Cove Reservoir.

Power is out to most of the town of Gunlock, and multiple agencies have responded to the fire.

Updated at 12:26 a.m., Washington County Fire Warden Adam Heyder said the cause of the fire is still unknown. 

“Most of the fire is knocked down,” Heyder said. “There are high winds and low relative humidity, so it will actively burn if we don’t get it mopped up tonight.”

State and federal fire agencies responded along with engines from from nearby communities, Gunlock, Utah, July 11, 2021 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

He said that other factors increasing the difficulty of fighting the blaze were extreme fire behavior and the cliffs on the hillside. The firefighters were unable to bring in air vehicles to fight the blaze at night.

Gunlock Fire Department volunteers were assisted by engines and firefighters from Northwest Fire District, Dammeron Valley Fire & Rescue, Enterprise Fire Department, Diamond Valley Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Utah Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands.

In total, 18 engines and two additional squads (groups of 3-5 firefighters) responded to the incident.

Heyder warned residents to remain cautious and to avoid Lower Sand Cove Road where the fire crews were staging.

A fire between Gunlock and Lower Sand Cove Reservoir was reported just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday night, Gunlock, Utah, July 11, 2021 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

“Stay out of the area,” he said. “It’s a dangerous gravel road with blind corners.”

Local fire engines were released starting around 11:35 p.m. as the fire became contained.

This is a developing story. This report is based on statements from police, emergency personnel or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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