Crews on Tuesday launched a major counterattack on southwestern Utah wildfires that had scorched more than 9,000 acres as new ground and aerial resources arrived on scene.
Fire Information Officer Mike Melton said about 150 firefighters were attacking the Shivwits Wildfire, achieving 55 percent containment of the blaze that had burned 5,100 acres of cheat grass, brush, pinyon and juniper trees six miles northwest of the Washington County town of Ivins.
“It’s looking pretty good now. We got some light showers overnight and are putting more resources in place,” Melton said, adding that in addition to ground crews, Tuesday’s firefighting efforts were aided by bulldozers on the ground and from above by helicopter and air tanker drops of water and fire retardant.
The Shivwits fire had been estimated at 4,000 acres late Monday, but overnight GPS mapping revised the area of high desert blackened by flames at a thousand acres more.
No property damage or injuries had been reported in fighting the blaze, sparked by lightning on Monday, Melton said, but steep, rocky terrain was making progress slow.
Lightning started another fire in Washington County about 11 p.m. Monday. The Reserve Fire had burned 500 acres north of St. George, near the Mesa Rim Trail. As of Tuesday night, several structures were threatened, and the Mesa Rim and Black Gulch trails were closed, said Bureau of Land Management spokesman Nickolas Howell.
Meanwhile, the Little Pine Wildfire was fully contained after having blackened 2,112 acres five miles southwest of Enterprise, also in Washington County. That fire was also ignited by lightning last Friday, according to Fire Information Officer Aly Farrow.
Crews had fully contained the 22,045-acre Faust Wildfire in northwestern Utah’s Tooele County late Monday. However, public lands and roadways administered by the BLM in the area remained closed to the public as firefighters mopped up hot spots within the interior of the blaze.
Erin Alberty contributed to this story