The major wildfires that have been burning in recent weeks across Utah had been hemmed in as of Friday morning, but two new blazes broke out by the afternoon.
A fire that began sometime after 5 p.m. off Highway 73 had burned 1,200 acres and had threatened the Deseret Chemical Depot. Cami Lee, spokeswoman with the Bureau of Land Management, said crews were making sure the fire didn’t get too close to the depot. How the fire, dubbed Ophir Creek Fire, started was still under investigation, but it was believed to be human-caused.
The Ophir Creek Fire was moving fast because of winds. It was reported to be 80 percent contained by 10 p.m., Lee said.
Another fire west of Utah Lake prompted the closure of Redwood Road (State Road 68) in Utah County six miles south of Saratoga Springs. The road closure extended about 10 miles south.
The Little Cove Fire burned more than 150 acres and grew with the help of 15 mph winds from the north, said Jason Curry, public information officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
Five people were cited by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office for starting the fire by using prohibited exploding targets in the area, Curry said.
The wildfire burned grass and brush and moved uphill but did not threaten any structures, Curry said. The most immediate threat was the wind pushing the fire south toward some farm homes a couple of miles away.
Five fire engines and one helicopter responded to the blaze. Redwood Road was later opened, but fire officials were still in the area and cautioned drivers when traveling through.
In other parts of the state, crews kept a close watch on the horizon for new smoke and flames going into what was expected to be a hot and dry Father’s Day weekend.
The Lost Lake Fire, which scorched 2,075 acres of timber and grasslands southwest of the Wayne County town of Teasdale, was 100 percent contained Friday. Crews planned to monitor the burned area near the Dixie National Forest for any new outbreaks while mopping up remaining hot spots through this weekend.
Also declared 100 percent contained was the 2,170-acre Box Creek Fire near the Fishlake National Forest in southcentral Utah. Earlier evacuations of area summer homes and cabins were lifted on Thursday. Crews were keeping a lookout for any flare-ups through the weekend there as well. Firefighters also had completed containment of the Lake Creek Fire, which burned 1,200 acres some 10 miles northwest of Boulder.
With temperatures expected to hit the 90s and 100s over the weekend, statewide fire restrictions are in place. Banned are all open fires, with the exception of those lit in improved campgrounds, picnic areas and permanent places of habitation.
The ban encompasses all state, federal and unincorporated private lands, and includes the use of any kind of fireworks, tracer ammunition or other pyrotechnic devices. Smoking also was prohibited except within enclosed vehicles, buildings or developed recreation sites.