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An air tanker dumps fire retardant on the Cinder Pit Fire Friday. (BLM photo)
New lightning fire has crews scrambling in southern Utah
Cinder Pit Fire » Blaze in Washington County tops 439 acres.
First Published Jul 26 2013 07:49 am • Last Updated Dec 07 2013 11:36 pm

A new lightning-ignited wildfire in southwestern Utah had topped 439 acres Friday, even as crews completed containment of the 40-acre Aspen Springs Fire in Sanpete County.

Fire Information Officer Vicki Tyler said the Cinder Pit Fire was burning in pinyon, juniper, cheat grass and brush fuels on Bureau of Land Management holdings, located roughly between the Washington County towns of Veyo and Brookside.

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Thunderstorms that rolled through the region about 3 p.m. Thursday sparked the blaze, which was being fought by a growing army of firefighters — about 140 who had the blaze 40 percent contained by Friday evening. A fleet of fire-retardant dropping air tankers and water-bearing helicopters also were attacking the flames.

No injuries had been reported and no evacuations ordered. There was no estimated time for containment and crews focused on turning back fiery runs fed by tree-torching activity.

Overnight, the fire consumed an additional 200 acres, primarily along the blaze’s southern flank. Flames approached four structures and a power line but were turned back.

No roads were closed, though motorists were urged to exercise extra caution as they traveled through the area on Highway 18, due to fire crew and equipment activity.

Also in Washington County, the Rush Lake Fire was estimated at 250 acres by Friday evening. It was not yet contained, but fire officials were optimistic that rainfall in the area would help stop its spread to the northwest.

The blaze, caused by lightning on the same day as the nearby Cinder Pit Fire, had threatened two outbuildings and a pump house, but no evacuations or road closures were in effect. However, drivers were cautioned to drive carefully along Highway 130 because of heavy smoke in the area.

The Aspen Springs Fire, on private land 2 miles east of Spring City, was turned over to local fire departments to monitor after crews reached 100 percent containment Thursday night.

No injuries were reported and no structures were lost. The cause of the fire was still under investigation.

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Twitter: @remims

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