WASHINGTON COUNTY — A brush fire that authorities believe may have started in a shed quickly burned nearly 15 acres behind homes and other structures in Pintura Wednesday evening, closing Exit 30 and 31 for a time and impacting traffic on Interstate 15 for several miles.
Just after 5 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a reported shed fire in Pintura, just off of Interstate 15 northbound between Exits 30 and 31, Washington County Emergency Services Director Peter Kuhlmann said.
The fire very quickly spread to the brush on the east side of Pintura, directly behind several homes and structures, Kuhlmann said. There was a temporary voluntary evacuation of four homes, which was done as a precaution for the residents’ safety.
AT 7:30 p.m. a preliminary investigation showed that three outbuildings or sheds had either been damaged or destroyed, he said. The homes along the fire’s path were left undamaged at that point.
According to information released by Kuhlmann at 9:06 p.m., initial estimates showed that eight primary structures and five outbuildings were threatened, however damage was limited to three outbuildings.
Kuhlmann revised the amount of acreage burned to approximately 10 acres.
All residents safely returned to their homes, according to the press release.
“Firefighters have the blaze fairly well contained,” Kuhlmann said, “they knocked it down pretty quickly.”
Traffic on Interstate 15 near Exits 30 and 31 was initially affected, Kuhlmann said, and those exits were closed when the flames grew higher by increased winds. As of 9 p.m., Exits 30 and 31 on Interstate 15 northbound were open.
The fire area will be monitored throughout the night and three engines and a water tender will be assigned to conduct an overhaul of the site tomorrow morning, Kuhlmann stated in the press release.
“Fire managers remind everyone that with the increased spring moisture this year fuels are exceptionally high. As the vegetation continues to dry due to the recent hot weather, the threat of wildfire increases. Please be careful with fire and use caution with spark producing tools and heat or spark generating equipment.”
The multi-agency response drew resources from the New Harmony Fire District, Washington City Fire Department, Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Emergency Services, Utah Forestry Fire and State Lands, U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Department of Transportation Incident Management Team and Washington County Emergency Services. An air control aircraft and two single engine air tankers from the BLM assisted with aerial support.
No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
St. George News Reporter Ric Wayman contributed to this report.
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