As Utah wildfire danger rises, officials urge caution with outdoor shooting, fires
Firefighters continued Tuesday to battle three wildfires that have scorched hundreds of acres of land in rural parts of the state.
But fire conditions were expected to worsen through Thursday. Fire officials Tuesday were asking the public to be very careful when using fire outdoors and target shooting, and have ordered restrictions on some activities to prevent additional wildfires.
Because of volatile fire conditions, these activities are prohibited beginning Thursday in southwest Utah on all unincorporated lands in Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington counties:
• Open fires of any kind, except campfires and charcoal fires within approved fire pits and grills.
• Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building.
• Cutting, welding or grinding metal in areas of dry vegetation.
• Use of exploding targets detonated when struck by a projectile such as a bullet.
• Fireworks, tracer ammunition or other pyrotechnic devices.
Many Utah communities have placed restrictions on fireworks in advance of the upcoming July 4 and July 24 holidays.
Ashley National Forest officials also warned that fire danger is predicted to be very high for the Uintah Basin through Thursday.
The National Forest is asking everyone to be careful with campfires and if possible avoid them until Friday.
Updates on the fires already burning:
• The Rock Creek Fire, sparked by lightning, is burning about 15 miles east of East Carbon City and has scarred about 181 acres of steep, rugged terrain. By Tuesday, the blaze was 25 percent contained.
• The Dark Canyon Fire in Manti-La Sal National Forest had burned 350 acres in the Dark Canyon Wilderness. It continued to grow rapidly, and a helicopter crew was monitoring its spread, fire officials said. It was about 60 percent contained Tuesday evening. Crews hoped to have the fire fully contained by Saturday night.
• To the northeast, the Lackey Fan Fire, also in the Manti-La Sal National Forest, continued to burn about 3 miles northwest of La Sal. A lightning strike Thursday ignited that blaze, which had burned about 904 acres. Nearly 305 fire personnel were on scene to prevent the fire from burning toward La Sal and residences in the Browns Hole area.
Firefighters had reached 75 percent containment by Tuesday evening.
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