The 566-acre Mammoth Fire continued to rage near Cedar City on Sunday. No structures have burned, but several are threatened and an evacuation order remains in effect for the village of Mammoth Creek.
Dixie National Forest public affairs officer Kevin Abel said maps showed as of 1 p.m. Sunday that the fire is within a mile of some structures. He added it could be even closer in some places. Abel said the threatened homes are on a road off of Highway 143, about 10 miles from Lake Panguitch.
Garfield County Sheriff James D. Perkins said on Twitter on Saturday night that about 280 homes were evacuated.
The fire has been reclassified as a Type 3 fire from a Type 4, signifying a greater danger to structures and resources, Abel said. He said because of the complexity of the fire, it will likely be downgraded to Type 2 by Tuesday morning. Fire complexity levels are rated from 5 to 1, with Type 1 being a large-scale fire with national management and a great threat to resources.
Utah Fire Info reported Sunday that 14 engines, five squads of firefighters, three single-engine air tankers and an air attack have been deployed to fight the fire, which is 0% contained. Abel said both state and federal engines are being used.
He said the situation is “really tough” since the next three days are predicted to be red flag fire days, which means strong wind and heat.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Bad weather conditions are making it hard for firefighters to fight another large fire in a remote area in Utah County. The Bennion Creek Fire caused a nearby Boy Scout camp to be evacuated Friday, according to Utah Fire Info. That blaze also forced the evacuation of a Latter-day Saint young men’s stake camp.
The fire was estimated to be 30-50 acres on Friday, but was about 350 acres by Saturday evening and into Sunday, according to Utah Fire Info.
The blaze, which is in remote, rugged terrain, was at 0% containment on Sunday. It is burning mountain mahogany, junipers and sagebrush. Red flag conditions are making it more difficult to contain the fire, according to Utah Fire Info.
This year’s fire season is already off to a bad start as the state breaks heat records and faces a severe drought. Gov. Spencer Cox has warned that wildfires could cost hundreds of millions of dollars this year. The state is asking residents to follow fire safety guidelines such as not leaving campfires unattended and not parking hot cars on dry vegetation.
— Tribune reporter Julie Jag contributed to this story.