Evacuations ordered as Dollar Ridge Fire continues to grow

Jul 2, 2018, 6:02 AM

The Dollar Ridge Fire, located about 4.5 miles southeast of Strawberry Reservoir, is considered the most complex wildfire currently burning in our state.

Fire spokesman Jason Curry, the public information officer for Utah Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands, says this is because of terrain, fire behavior, fuels, the potential to threaten structures and the involvement of two counties in this big recreation area.

Curry says the fire was human-caused. Investigators continue to look into exactly what started it.

Folks in 10 structures in Beaver Canyon and at the top of Strawberry River have been evacuated. We’re told the Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office has giving pre-evacuation notice to those in the Strawberry River Drainage and Timber Canyon areas, which Curry estimates to be dozens of homes.

The fire sparked around 1 p.m. Sunday. Curry says the fire spread quickly in steep terrain and high winds. By the evening, it had grown to 6,600 acres.

He says initial crews tried to get some line around it but made very little progress given winds and steep terrain.

“We had a heli-attack crew that flew a crew right to the fire. They tried to get on it and they outfitted their helicopter to do bucket drops, but with fire behavior this extreme, those bucket drops were ineffective,” said Curry. One hundred firefighters worked hard Sunday.

Curry says the fire is zero percent contained at this point.

“Really this is going to go on for several days. We’ve ordered a Type-2 Incident Management team based on the analysis that we’ve done on this fire and all of its complexities. We know it’s going to be at least several days, if not more,” said Curry.

As people prepare for the Fourth of July, Curry says it’s a “good reminder for the public. We know this is a human-caused fire. We’re looking for any information that anyone might have to help us get to the bottom to what started it.”

As for your celebrations, he warns, “Going into the Fourth of July Holiday, we want people to be really careful out there. Things are super dry. Much dryer than in the last few years. Just help us out. Put those campfires out cold, be really careful with the fireworks and then secure your chains when you’re driving a trailer.”

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Evacuations ordered as Dollar Ridge Fire continues to grow