East Canyon Fire now 90% contained as Bear Fire keeps U.S. 6 closed

Firefighters reported “great progress” in their efforts to fight the East Canyon Fire.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Bear Fire burns in the mountains northwest of Helper on Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

The Bear Fire has once again forced the closure of U.S. 6 in Price Canyon.

After briefly reopening just before 8:30 a.m. Thursday, the highway was closed again in both directions between mile markers 221 and 230 just after 10 a.m. As of about 8 p.m., there was no word on when it may reopen. Traffic is being detoured to Emma Park Road and U.S. 191.

The fire in the mountains northwest of Helper in Carbon County has grown to 5,479 acres and is 0% contained, according to Utah Fire Info. The cause of the Bear Fire remains under investigation, but it’s believed to have been sparked by lightning on Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters are reporting “great progress” in their efforts to contain the East Canyon Fire. “Fire personnel are optimistic [that] with four crews and helicopter support they can secure fire perimeter to allow downsizing to one crew,” according to Utah Fire Info.

The East Canyon Fire was started when a piece of heavy machinery, a track hoe, hit a rock. Earlier evacuations were lifted on Wednesday as SR-66 was reopened.

As of 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the East Canyon Fire is 90% contained. Earlier in the day it was reported to have burned 835 acres.

[Read more: The Bennion Creek Fire forced residents of 10 homes to evacuate Thursday evening.]

The Pack Creek Fire, which started Wednesday as an unattended campfire in southeast Utah, had spread to 400 acres Thursday and was 0% contained.

The lightning-caused Mammoth Fire near St. George is at 709 acres and 19% contained.

“Our wildfire season is already in full swing, much, much earlier than normal,” Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson warned during a news conference Thursday — made worse by the state’s drought conditions. “We’re imploring fellow Utahns to be extra cautious when recreating outdoors, and when towing your vehicles.”