Brush fire burns 2.5 acres near Hurricane Recreation Area; firefighters blame human activity – St George News


ST. GEORGELess than a year after a similar blaze in the same area, fire crews have returned to the banks of the Virgin River near the Long Valley Recreation Area to battle a bushfire that started on Saturday evening.

Capt. Steve Harris of the Hurricane Valley Fire District took over as incident commander during the response, which continued through Sunday as firefighters surveyed hot spots and maintained a line of fire. containment around the 2.5 acre burn.

Harris said the fire was believed to be man-made, although the exact time and details of its ignition are still under investigation.

Last year’s blight spread through the same thicket of overgrown tamarisk and Russian olive trees that grow along the riverbank. It is believed to have been caused when the flames spread from a camping trailer left in the area.

“The problem with fire in tamarisk is that it’s really thick and hard to work with,” Harris said. “The grass fires are nice because we can get out of there in a few hours. This thicker fuel retains heat. It takes a lot of sawing work, and it’s a lot of work to put them out.

Firefighters from multiple agencies responded to a brush fire that broke out late Saturday evening near the Long Valley Recreation Area, Hurricane, Utah, March 19, 2022 | Photo courtesy of Trevor Madson, St. George News

Trevor Madson was camping with his family when the fire broke out a few hundred yards from their campsite, and he told St. George News they were on the front line for emergency response when police and firefighters arrived at the scene.

“I got there around 5 or 5:30 p.m., and the fire started shortly after,” Madson said. “At first I thought it was a farmer burning off his excess or something, but then it got huge – you could see it for miles.”

Madson’s campsite was located across Pecon Road, a relatively safe distance from the fire. He said his group had been allowed to stay, and he heard and saw first responders working through the night to contain the fire.

No injuries were reported in connection with the fire and no structures were threatened while it burned.

Harris and the Hurricane Valley Fire District were assisted by the City of Washington Fire Department and fire crews with the Bureau of Land Management and the Utah Division of Forests, Fires and Lands of State.

The fire was reported to authorities at 7.25pm ​​on Saturday and was not fully brought under control until around 11am on Sunday. Harris said he expected to stay with his fire crews for some time to continue coordinating the multi-agency response.

“When we leave I never want to come back, so I make sure it’s cold,” he said. “We make sure he’s 100% out.”

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