Basin Fire burning 10,000 acres in critical tortoise habitat

Basin Fire burns some 20 miles southeast of Mesquite, Nevada, May 10, 2020 | Photo courtesy of BLM Arizona Fire, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Fire managers are in the initial stages of fighting a fire that started Sunday afternoon and is now burning 10,000 acres in critical tortoise habitat around 20 miles southeast of Mesquite, Nevada on the Arizona Strip District in the Pakoon Basin.

Around 2 p.m. on Sunday, the fire, now known as the Basin Fire, was started by lightning from passing thunderstorms. As of Monday, around 2:22 p.m. there are 10,000 acres burning, according to information posted on the InciWeb website.

An initial report showed there were structures threatened by the fire, but that is no longer the case.

Rachel Carnahan, public affairs officer for the BLM’s Arizona Strip Field Office, told St. George News the structure that was threatened had been the Pakoon fire station last night, but it is no longer in danger.

“The fire burned around it, so they were able to keep that safe,” she said.

The BLM, U.S. Forest Service, Park Service and Beaver Dam and Littlefield firefighters are working on extinguishing the fire. Additional air support resources have been ordered.

The weather conditions are currently red flag conditions.

“We do predict that there is going to be wind and a low RH (relative humidity), so dry conditions, windy conditions for the next several days,” Carnahan said. “Because the fire is so remote, and there are no residential structures, (and) there are no evacuations.”

There are a few outbuildings, corrals and water catchments that the firefighters are trying to help protect for the ranchers.

“But this is a pretty remote fire out in the Pakoon Basin,” Carnahan said.

The fuels involved include brush, grass, pinyon and juniper.

“It is burning in critical desert tortoise habitat,” she said. “So they’re doing a direct attack method and utilizing ground resources and aviation.”

There are seven engines with four hand crews that are inbound. They also have a dozer, a grater, three helicopters and 12 overhead, incident command management team members.

People are being asked to avoid the area to allow crew and resources space to access and mitigate the fire.


As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, the Basin Fire is 36,488 acres and 15% contained.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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