UPDATED: I-15 reopened through Virgin River Gorge; Lime Fire continues to burn

ST. GEORGEA wildfire started by human activity is burning through grass and brush near mile marker 24 on Interstate 15 in the Virgin River Gorge.

Flames burned through brush and grass near Interstate 15 in the Virgin River Gorge, Arizona, July 12, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Cathy Barber, St. George News

As of Tuesday morning, I-15 has been reopened, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation Twitter feed.

The Lime Fire was first reported Monday at 8:22 p.m., and had grown to over 400 acres by 11 p.m., said Chief Jeff Hunt with the Beaver Dam Littlefield Fire District.

ADOT began stopping traffic northbound through the gorge around 9:27 p.m., and announced the freeway was closed in both directions at 9:39 p.m. High winds and drought conditions continue to complicate firefighting efforts in the gorge. As of Monday evening, no structures were threatened.

“We’ve got Beaver Dam, Arizona Strip-BLM and Cedar City-BLM (firefighters) on scene here,” Hunt said. “We had St. George Fire Department for a little bit, but we released them fairly early because it got away from what they could do.”

Smoke and light from the Lime Fire is seen from atop a hill in St. George, Utah. July 12, 2021 | Reader submitted photo, St. George News

The fire crews are trying to limit the fire’s spread by containing it within the area previously scorched by fires earlier this year. 

“We’ve tied this north end in pretty good, but the south end is what we’re worried about right now,” Hunt said. “We’ve got several type six engines, several type four engines and a water tender. No aircraft until morning because they can’t fly at night, so right now we’ve just got a whole bunch of engines.”

There have been no reported injuries among civilians or firefighters.

This blaze marks the third time in less than a month that fire agencies have battled a significant fire along that stretch of the highway. Light from the fire’s flames reflecting off smoke is visible from St. George.

See video at the top of this report courtesy of Abraham Thiombiano.

This is a developing story.

Updated July 13, 12:30 p.m. – Lime Fire in gorge grows to over 2,000 acres as hand crews and aircraft continue to fight blaze

Updated July 13, 6:20 a.m. – reopening of I-15

Updated July 12, 11 p.m. – with size of fire and quotes from officials.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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