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3 blazes burn in southern Utah as wildfire danger remains high


By Janelle Stecklein

and Kimball Bennion

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jun 15 2013 09:02AM
Updated Dec 7, 2013 11:33PM

With a hot, dry weekend in store for much of Utah, three wildfires continued to burn out of control.

All three fires were in rural parts of the state, but some uninhabited structures on the Tavaputs Plateau were threatened by one fire burning in eastern Carbon County. Fire danger remained high across much of southern Utah.

The Rock Creek Fire, sparked by lightning, burned about 15 miles east of East Carbon and had scarred about 235 acres on steep rugged terrain that has so far been inaccessible to hand crews. Instead, two hotshot crews supported by three retardant-carrying helicopters have been battling the blaze all weekend.

Sandy Nelson, of the Utah Interagency Fire Center, said a few uninhabited structures on ranches on the Tavaputs Plateau were threatened on Saturday.

Meanwhile, two fires burning in the Manti-La Sal National Forest continued to rage Saturday.

The Dark Canyon Fire had burned at least up to 150 acres in the Manti-La Sal National Forest in the Dark Canyon Wilderness. It continued to grow rapidly, and a helicopter crew was monitoring its spread, fire officials said.

To the northeast, the Lackey Fan Fire continued to burn about 3 miles northwest of La Sal. A lightning strike Thursday ignited that blaze, which had consumed about 915 acres as of Saturday afternoon. Nine 20-person crews were expected to help attack the fire by the end of the day Saturday, including help from out of the state.

All three fires had zero percent containment.

Also in the Manti-La Sal National Forest, smoke jumpers made progress Saturday against smaller fires in the Abajo Mountains at Butts Point, North Long Point and Horse Mountain. The Butts Point Fire never grew any larger than 2 1/2 acres and the Long Point and Horse Mountain fires held steady at half an acre each.

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City issued a red flag warning through 10 p.m., which means that a critical situation exists because of the combination of strong winds and low humidity.

Sustained winds of 15 mph to 25 mph, with gusts of up 35, were expected. Humidity was forecast to drop below 10 percent.

The red flag warning covered Milford, Cedar City, St. George, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and Escalante.

jstecklein@sltrib.com

kbennion@sltrib.com

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