Heavy winds spread brush fire near Sand Hollow Reservoir

ST. GEORGE — Heavy winds pushed a brush fire that started in the Dixie Springs area of Hurricane near Sand Hollow Reservoir Monday evening to an estimated 50-100 acres. The fire is considered less than 10% contained as of Monday night.

View of the smoke from the Dixie Springs Fire near Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, June 19, 2023 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The blaze, designated as the Dixie Springs Fire by state fire officials, was initially reported near the area of Flora Tech Road. Pushed along by high wind, the fire spread and led to the closure of area roads due to smoke creating visibility issues.

“The winds are our biggest enemy on this fire,” Washington County Fire Warden Heber Heyder told St. George News at the scene Monday evening. The quick spread of the fire was the “carpet of cheatgrass” that blankets the area and has provided an uninterrupted fuel source for the fire, he said.

Cheatgrass is an invasive species of brush that is very flammable and can lead to the creation of major fires if left unchecked.

The fire moved across the hillside by the Paradise Ranch Subdivision north toward the Red Desert Sod farm and then moved onto the hilltops and toward the general area of the state Route 7 and state Route 9 intersection.

At one point the fire was reported to be 100 yards from SR-7.

Firefighters respond to the Dixie Springs Fire near Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, June 19, 2023 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Multiple agencies responded to the fire through the Color County Interagency Fire group that includes local, state and federal firefighting resources. Among those resources that responded are air support units out of Cedar City and a pair of air tankers.

Large planes could be seen flying overhead as they circled the fire and dropped retardant in an effort to halt the fire’s progression.

As of 8 p.m., Heyder said it is estimated that under 10% of the fire is considered contained. However, with the onset of the evening hours and the temperature cooling some, the fire’s activity appeared to be dying down yet was still considered active.

Structures below the hillside were threatened by the fire but were spared as the fire “skirted around them” and was directed away by “some solid work from our crews,” Heyder said.

Though out of immediate danger, Heyder said the structures will be considered “threatened” until the fire is more thoroughly contained.

Burned area of the Dixie Springs Fire near Sand Hollow Reservoir shows how close the blaze came to structures, Hurricane, Utah, June 19, 2023 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

While the UtahFireInfo.gov website states the fire is considered to be human-caused, Heyder said the cause and starting point are still under investigation.

Firefighters will likely be fighting the Dixie Springs Fire for another day or two as efforts are made to create fire lines in order to better contain the blaze, Heyder added.

As the evening progressed, roads previously closed due to the fire began to be opened as the fire’s overall activity waned for the time being. The fire may begin to spread again Tuesday due to winds and rising temperatures.

Click here for additional information from the Utah Fire Info website. Click here for UDOT’s latest travel conditions for the impacted area on state Route 7.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.

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