Recreation continues despite West Valley Fire in Southern Utah

Jun 29, 2018, 7:13 PM | Updated: 9:34 pm

PINE VALLEY, Utah – The West Valley Fire has been burning in Southern Utah since an abandoned campfire sparked it Wednesday.

It began three miles northeast of the Pine Valley Campground on the Dixie National Forest.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, officials said the fire had burned 7,200 acres and remained was not contained. Thankfully, they said there have been no evacuations and no structures imminently threatened.

“We have a big fuel break and we’re creating a dozier line in between the fire’s path and New Harmony,” said Officer Sierra Hellstrom, spokesperson for the West Valley Fire effort.

Firefighters were keeping an eye on 10 seasonal cabins near the Mill Flat trailhead as a precaution, but said they were located about two miles from the fire line.

“The fire is still quite a ways away from New Harmony and the city isn’t being threatened at this time, and Pine Valley even less so. The fire is burning the other direction. So we just want the public to know that right now there isn’t danger to anyone,” said Hellstrom.

The Pine Valley Campground and Pine Valley Reservoir remained open.

“We like to keep public access open as much as possible because we don’t want to hinder people’s experience of the forest if it’s not impacted by the fire. Right now, this area is not,” said Hellstrom.

Visitors have been watching helicopter crews pick up water from the reservoir in awe.

“I’ve never seen them do it in a lake like this before, so that was pretty interesting. Interesting technology watching that, too. I thought it was just a bucket, but it has a pump on it and the whole nine yards, so that was cool,” said Brent Hirschi, who was staying at Pine Valley Campground for a family reunion.

Fire officials have urged folks to enjoy the outdoors safely.

“It only takes one spark and we really want to emphasize that most of the fires that have been happening have been human caused,” said Hellstrom.

About 200 firefighters were working to get a handle on the fire. A Type 2 Incident Command team was scheduled to take over Saturday morning, meaning more resources will be available to help fight the fire.

West Valley Fire officials have posted updates on utahfireinfo.gov. You can also call 385-429-3220 if you have any questions.

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Recreation continues despite West Valley Fire in Southern Utah