‘A recipe for disaster’: Firefighters suppress 2 afternoon fires in Iron County

Firefighters from multiple agencies work at the scene of a fire that burned 10 acres near Iron Springs Road, Iron County, Utah, Aug. 22, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

IRON COUNTY — With most of Cedar City’s firefighters tied up fighting a blaze along Interstate 15, crews from multiple surrounding fire agencies worked to extinguish and contain a separate brush fire that burned approximately 10 acres east of Iron Springs Road Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters from multiple agencies work at the scene of a fire that burned 10 acres near Iron Springs Road, Iron County, Utah, Aug. 22, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Ryan Riddle, Iron County fire warden for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, told Cedar City News the Iron Springs-area fire was first reported about 4:30 p.m.

Initially, six structures across the road from the fire were threatened, along with some nearby power lines and other infrastructure.

“There were people evacuated from the homes initially, but they’ve been able to go back into those homes,” Riddle said, adding that no structures were damaged.

Later Thursday evening, crews were still on scene working on a containment perimeter.

“Tonight, they’ll get it contained and then they’ll have resources on it tomorrow working towards getting control,” he said. “After that, once we don’t have any smoke or heat detected on the fire, then they’ll call it out. But it’s usually a process that takes two or three days.”

Firefighters from multiple agencies work at the scene of a fire that burned 10 acres near Iron Springs Road, Iron County, Utah, Aug. 22, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Riddle said the cause of the blaze is still undetermined.

“We do have a fire investigator on scene working on the cause,” he said.

Among the agencies responding to the incident were Cedar City Fire Department, along with the fire departments of Parowan, Paragonah, Kanarraville and Brian Head, plus crews and resources from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, along with bulldozer and heavy equipment operators from Iron County.

Riddle encouraged area residents to be especially careful in the hot and windy conditions.

“We’re not seeing any relief in sight,” he said. “Our fuels are critically dry, and the weather behavior today with the high winds and low relative humidity just created a recipe for disaster.”

“We’re lucky that we’ve got the interagency cooperation amongst all the agencies and we were able to jump on them and get them taken care of,” Riddle said.

“One less spark, one less wildfire,” he added.

Brush fire spreads along I-15

Just before 4 p.m., about a half-hour before the Iron Springs fire was reported, there was another fire in Cedar City that burned a swath of tall grass along the east shoulder of northbound Interstate 15 near mile marker 60, charring more than two acres and threatening dozens of nearby residences.

Scene of a fire that burned approximately 2.5 acres of grass along the shoulder of Interstate 15, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 22, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Cedar City Fire Chief Mike Phillips said Thursday night he had not yet talked to the investigator regarding the cause of that fire.

“It ended up being 2.5 acres, and it affected 44 homes along the freeway and burned down some fences,” he said, adding that while some residents may have voluntarily left their homes during the blaze, nobody was forced to evacuate.

The incident temporarily impacted northbound traffic along the interstate while Cedar City Fire Department crews worked to extinguish the flames. Also responding to the incident were personnel from the Cedar City Police Department and Iron County Sheriff’s Office. Utah Highway Patrol troopers assisted with traffic control along the interstate.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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