Cottonwood Wildfire Human Caused, 50 Percent Contained

Cottonwood Fire
Color Country firefighter Cory Martin conducting a firing operation in an attempt to stop the fire's progression along the Apex Road. Photos courtesy of Cortney Crosby, BLM Fire Prevention.

IVINS – The wildfire which began yesterday evening, reported extensively with updates in St. George News earlier publications today, is currently 50 percent contained, with expectations of full containment advanced to 8 p.m.

Bureau of Land Managment Color Country, Public Information Officer Nick Howell, explained the change of name of the fire.

“Every fire we (BLM) have must be given a name.  We try to use prominent landmarks, topographic features – in this case, this fire is probably in some sort of a wash called ‘cottonwood wash,’ thus the name given.”

Of greater import, Howell assured that the weather has been cooperating the winds firefighters have been concerned about have not thus far been affecting the effort towards containment too much.

The Apex Road (a dirt road) remains closed and anything south of the Apex Mine will be closed, that is, all dirt roads.

Contrary to earlier reports, the effort has included not only ground crews but air support, as well.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation but current data indicates that it has most likely been human caused.

“There hasn’t been any lightning in the area,” Howell said. “We have a database that is an online satellite database that measures where lightning strikes; we can pull up a map that shows where lightning has struck.  That is not the case here.  Data suggests it is human caused, but there is nothing confirmed right now.  Hopefully later tonight we will have a better idea.”

There remain no threats to property or persons.  Howell said that most of the damage this fire is causing is to natural resources: “Perhaps a little bit of damage to a power line corridor that is in that area,” he added.

Earlier, the fire was in an inaccessible area, said Howell – but it is now being battled in more accessible locale.

Howell reaffirmed what St. George News reported earlier today, that the emergent responders include a concerted effort of local, state and federal, including BLM fire suppressant providers locally based and from the Arizona strip area.

“BLM has crews in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona,” Howell said.  “We have to share our resources from the federal level.”

Fire season may seem to have come early this year, but Howell suggested it is because the years 2009 and 2010 were atypical, less fire activity.  This year, he said, has definitely already delivered more human caused fires than usual.  St. George News will address fire safety, prevention, defensibility of residents and more related to fire hazard awareness and precaution in a separate and forthcoming article.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.





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