UTAH WILDFIRES

Fast-acting fire crews contain New Harmony fire in southern Utah

Jun 8, 2023, 9:48 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2023, 2:32 pm

NEW HARMONY, Utah — A human-caused wildfire in southern Utah is now contained thanks to a quick response from air and ground resources, says a fire official.

As of 9 p.m., the Harmony Ridge Fire, located at mile marker 42 just off Interstate-15 east of New Harmony, was 70 percent contained and is no longer a threat to any structures in the area. That was not the case about two hours prior when voluntary evacuations were in place and several homes were threatened.

“Between air and the guys on the ground, is what helped wrap this up pretty quickly,” Paula Imlay told KSL5TV.

The fire was called in around 5 p.m. on Thursday. Two airplanes and one bucketed helicopter were immediately dispatched to the scene to create a barrier for the fire to run into in order to give ground crews the ability to safely get it under control. Initially, the fire was threatening 5 primary/secondary homes and communication towers and evacuations were voluntary.

“We don’t want to put firefighters in front of an active moving fire,” Imlay said explaining why air resources were used on the 3-5 acre fire.

A human-caused wildfire in southern Utah is now contained thanks to a quick response from air and ground resources, says a fire official.

A human-caused wildfire in southern Utah is now contained thanks to a quick response from air and ground resources, says a fire official. (KSL5TV)

Buckets of water were dropped on the fire from above by the helicopter, as well as lines of retardant were dropped by the fixed-wing aircrafts.

This approach allows for firefighters to create a line of defense against the fire, compared to battling the fire alongside it as it burns.

At this time the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Imlay urged the public to avoid the area to allow fire crews to finish moping up the fire.

Fire officials say record-breaking winter snowfall and a wet spring have built up lush vegetation in the mountains and by July or August the hillsides will dry out and wildfire danger will be high.

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Fast-acting fire crews contain New Harmony fire in southern Utah