Gusty winds, tinder-dry conditions and continuing hot weather combined as southern Utah’s Brian Head Fire exploded to nearly 50,000 acres by early Tuesday and is only 10% contained.
Strong southwest winds gusting over 40 mph combined with relative humidity of five percent to push the Brian Head Fire in Utah another four miles to the northeast Tuesday. Flames rising to 100 feet were reported by firefighters. The big run Monday afternoon added another 6,190 acres to bring the total burned area to 49,626. More fire activity south of Highway 143 resulted in another 200 acres burned east of the 050 Road.
Red Flag Warning weather conditions will continue through tomorrow – high temperatures, low humidity, and southwesterly winds are expected to continue throughout the week. Tuesday, firefighters continued monitoring and patrolling the fire perimeter near structures, ensuring that no hot spots remain. On the southern flank, crews worked along the constructed dozerline to strengthen the containment line. Fire operations personnel are evaluating the difficult terrain near Sydney Peaks for opportunities to contain the fire. On the northern side of the fire, where the majority of Monday’s growth occurred, fire operations managers are looking past the old-growth timber, to where the fuels change to sage and grass and suppression efforts may be more successful.
CURRENT EVACUATIONS – The following communities remain evacuated per local law enforcement: Upper Bear Valley, Panguitch Lake, Horse Valley, Beaver Dam, Castle Valley, Blue Springs, Rainbow Meadows, Mammoth Creek, Dry Lakes, Second Left Hand Canyon, and the town of Brian Head. Evacuees can contact the Red Cross for shelter information. If you live in an area affected by wildland fires, officials recommend familiarizing yourself with the Ready, Set, Go Program (http://wildlandfirersg.org/).
CLOSURES – Highway 143 is closed from the cemetery in Parowan to milepost 50 outside of Panguitch. Mammoth Creek Road is closed at the junction with Highway 143. The north side gate of 143/148 is closed. The Dixie National Forest has expanded its area closure to include Forest lands north of Highway 14. Please check your route before planning recreational activities. Maps of the closure area are posted at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5253/.The Brian Head Fire started around midday Saturday, June 17, and grew very quickly through dense timber on lands administered by Brian Head Town, Iron County, in cooperation with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands. It has since burned on to lands managed by Dixie National Forest and Color Country District Bureau of Land Management. Cedar Breaks National Monument remains open, with access via Highway 14.