Wildfire consumes several acres in Washington County
Jun 19, 2023, 7:53 PM | Updated: Jul 11, 2023, 3:25 pm
UPDATE: The Dixie Springs Fire was 100% contained by 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, according to Utah Fire Authority. There were 614 total acres burned.
Several weeks later, on July 11, state fire officials confirmed the Dixie Springs Fire was human-caused, but undetermined.
Our original story continues below.
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — A wildfire is burning in Washington County, threatening multiple structures.
The Dixie Springs Fire had burned approximately 100 acres and was 2% contained as of Monday night. State fire authorities said over 50 homes are threatened, but no evacuations had been issued.
It began around 6 p.m. Monday off of Flora Tech Road, north of Dixie Springs and state Route 9 and state Route 7.
High winds were pushing the fire, which was moving quickly. Crews were monitoring the winds very closely but said forward progression of the fire was stopped Monday night. Their message to residents in the area — if the winds shift, there could be evacuations.
The Utah Department of Transportation tweeted the fire was impacting nearby roads with all directions of S.R. 7 closed from 3000 South to the S.R. 9 junction.
Fire Affecting Roadway
All Directions SR 7 Closed
Between MP 23 and MP 26 (3000 S to SR-9 Jct) Washington Co.
Use Alt Route
For updates: https://t.co/jaVMw7e9Jm
— UDOT Traffic (@UDOTTRAFFIC) June 20, 2023
Washington County Fire Warden Heber Heyder said the homes were in danger because of the strong winds and continuous vegetation on the ground.
“There was a threat there to those homes, and that’s why we put structure engines in that vicinity as that fire worked its way down so we could take action when necessary,” Heyder said.
Even after a very wet winter, Heyder said conditions in Southern Utah are drying out and ready to burn, as evidenced by the Dixie Springs Fire growing so quickly in a short amount of time.
“Things are still dry out there,” he said. “As things warm up, as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, fires have been getting a little bit more intense.”
It’s a different story in Northern Utah, where there’s been plenty of moisture this spring, and the record snowpack has slowly melted because of the cooler temperatures.
“Those afternoon thunderstorms have kept the fuels moist and the soil wet,” said Karl Hunt with Utah Forestry, Fire and State Lands, “but it’s also given them the water they need to grow.”
Hunt said Northern Utah is still in the “green-up” phase but that all the grass will eventually dry out and could fuel wildfires later this summer.
“When you’re out recreating, just take some precautionary steps to limit the human-caused wildfires,” Hunt said. “There is still that danger. Even though we’ve gotten a lot moisture it doesn’t mean that the danger went away.”