A wildfire in Beaver County that forced evacuations and closed a portion of Highway 153 on Monday night continued to burn on Tuesday.
State wildfire officials said that the Three Creeks Fire began around 5 p.m. Monday along the highway “in a fuels treatment” area that included piles of dead and downed trees. The fire was unable to be burned earlier this season “due to regulations associated with COVID-19,” fire officials said on Twitter.
It is not a controlled or prescribed burn, they said.
As of early Tuesday afternoon, the fire had grown to 60 acres and fire authorities said Tuesday night it was 30% contained.
Highway 153 was closed from Big John’s Flat Road to Puffer Lake. But an evacuation order that was in place for the Big John Flat area, Eagle Point Ski Resort and nearby communities was lifted Tuesday night, after, “with the help of wetting rains, fire progression was stopped.”
No structures have been lost, fire officials said, and state and federal resources were on scene to fight the blaze, including four helicopters and six smoke jumpers.
A fact sheet on the fire says it was human caused and under investigation.
Utah’s state forester told lawmakers last week that the Beehive State is experiencing one of its worst fire years on record. During the 2020 fire season, there have been nearly 1,300 wildfires statewide. On average, Utah sees anywhere from 1,100 to 1,200 blazes each year, and the fire season still has weeks to go.
Many of the state’s wildfires have been human-caused as more Utahns have gotten outside during the coronavirus pandemic. But the largest fires by far have been sparked by lightning in remote places and subsequently whipped up by big winds.