Brian Head Fire caused by weed torch used in dry conditions, experts say

The Gov. & other state leaders assessed the area Tuesday

[UPDATE 6/23]

The fire grew more than 10,000 acres overnight. Officials say it is now at 27,744 acres. Evacuations for Mammoth Springs have been ordered.

[UPDATE 6/22]

Officials say the Brian Head Fire continue to grow Thursday. As of 8:45 p.m., the than 17,000 acres thanks to strong winds. Evacuations for Brian Head, Clear Creek, Horse Valley, and Beaver Dam remain in place.

Incident Commander, Tim Roide, said this extreme fire behavior is "unprecedented".

 

[UPDATE 6/21]

Wednesday evening crews confirmed the fire had grown to 5,000 acres and remains at 15% containment. Evacuations have been issued for Clear Creek, Beaver Dam and Horse Valley areas. The Utah Red Cross is assisting the evacuees. 

 
 
 
UPDATE 6/20: Governor Herbert said in a tweet Tuesday that experts told confirmed the cause of the fire was a weed torch used in dry conditions.
Gov. Herbert, the mayor of Brian Head H.C. "Dutch" Deutschlander, Commissioner of Public Safety Keith Squire, and other local leaders visited the area Tuesday to discuss the current state of affairs of wildfires in Utah.
 
[PREVIOUS STORY]
PAROWAN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - The wild fire in Brian Head continues to burn on Tuesday, continues to be 0% contained, and the town continues to be evacuated as fire crews fight the blaze Monday afternoon.
 
US Highway 143 is still closed but people have been coming requesting escorts to go up and grab luggage and belongings that they left when they were evacuated in a hurry."
 
"Tourists that were evacuated are staying in hotels in town, but they left their IDs and luggage and now they have flights back home and they need to retrieve it," said Erin Darboven, PIO with the Great Basin Management Team.
 
While the mandatory evacuation continues, a Type 2 Incident Management Team has taken over. Fire Fighters from all over the Northwest have arrived and set up a command center in Parowan to be able to fight the fire around the clock.
 
"I came from Boise, and we have crews from all over the NorthWest", said Darboven
 
"These structures in here are what we're most concerned about," Brian Head Town Manager.
 
Planes continue to drop water and retardant to protect structures and homes that are still in danger.
 
"The air tankers that came in and they dropped retardant all along this perimeter right here on the cabins. We have cabins that used to have green roofs, they now have red roofs that was dropped on them and that saved untold property," said Howser.
 
The fire started Saturday mid-day. Officials say it's human caused, beginning near Parowan Canyon, but still under investigation. It spread quickly through dense limber.
 
"I talked to a group of Hot Shots from Montana, and this is what they do, they chase fires down and put them out, and they're heroes," said Howser.
 

Local and State leaders respond

On Tuesday at 7 p.m. members of the Incident Management Team, community leaders, and Utah State Fire managers will be on hand to provide answers to questions from the community. The event will be held at Parowan High School auditorium.
 
Earlier in the day Governor Herbert, the mayor of Brian Head H.C. "Dutch" Deutschlander, Commissioner of Public Safety Keith Squire, and other local leaders visited the area and discussed the current state of affairs of wildfires in Utah.
 


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