The Latest On Fires Burning Across Utah Now | KUER 90.1

The Latest On Fires Burning Across Utah Now

Jul 5, 2018

This post was updated at 6:45 a.m. 7/10/18

 

Fifty-five large wildfires are burning nationwide, and they've scorched more than 1,766 square miles of forest and range in a dozen states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

 

 

Monsoonal moisture has helped to slow the progress of the four large fires in Utah, and the incident team involves 887 personnel. Firefighters are making the best of monsoon condtions that have cooled fire areas and brought rain for the past few days.

 

Eric Schoening, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Salt Lake City office, said this weather coming from the south is expected to stick around for a few days.

“That influx of moisture and the precipitation it helps produce is helping to calm down some of the fires in the area,” he said.

 

But the landscape is still very dry, and the likelihood of storms tapers off later in the week. So, officials have also prepared lightning strikes that might spark more fires and wind gusts might spread the flames faster.

 

Here's the latest on major wildfires in the region and efforts to slow them.

 

Dollar Ridge Fire

The Dollar Ridge Fire east of Strawberry Reservoir, Utah’s largest wildfire, continues to grow. It’s current size is 52,256 acres, or nearly 82 square miles. Officials report 50 percent containment.

 

Public safety officials have allowed most of the estimated 1,100 evacuees access to homes and cabins, so the Red Cross evacuation center closed. The burn area is east of Strawberry Reservoir, which is usuallly a popular vacation spot this time of year.

 

Fire officials released a damage assessment Tuesday that said 74 homes were destroyed, 6 homes were singed, 131 trailers  and dozens of sheds and agricultural buildings were damaged or destroyed. The report said 25 vehciles were also totalled or burned.

 

Although the Dollar Ridge Fire was human-caused, investigators haven't disclosed any details.

 

The wildfire had been growing daily because the winter’s low snowpack left record dry conditions, but rain has helped slow down the Dollar Fire's progress.

 

 

 

 

West Valley Fire

Forecasters also predict thunderstorms in southwestern Utah, the location of the West Valley Fire. Containment is 55 percent. The fire's footprint is just over 18 square miles.

 

The West Valley Fire was triggered by an abandoned campfire. Fire officials estimate it will be three weeks before the fire can be contained.

 

 

#WestValleyFire is now at 11,716 and 20% contained. Thanks to incredible work by firefighters the last few days during red flag conditions, backfire operations and aerial attack has been highly successful to slow the progress of the fire and hold the line.

 

PC: Sierra Hellstrom pic.twitter.com/j0FIKLvUvX

— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) July 5, 2018

 

Mopping Up

Three other fires are close to containment.

The Trail Mountain Fire was 90 percent contained through the weekend. It has scorched roughly 28 square miles in Manti-La Sal National Forest near Orangeville in Emery County.

The fire, which burned one cabin, began when a prescribed fire by federal land managers escaped across Cottonwood Canyon Road to East Mountain on June 6, according to the inter-agency fire information website InciWeb.

 

The lightning-caused Willow Creek Fire is 96 percent contained. It scorched about 2 square miles in the Uinta National Forest.

 

The Willow Patch Fire near Richfield is 95 percent contained. The human-cased fire burned about seven square miles.