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Southeast Utah enacts fire restrictions

Dry conditions increase risk of wildfires; Pack Creek Fire grows to nearly 9,000 acres
The Pack Creek Fire southeast of Moab, Utah, has been burning since June 9 and has spread to about 9,000 acres. (Courtesy InciWeb)

Fire restrictions have increased in southeast Utah because of extremely dry vegetation and prolonged drought.

As of Friday, all Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, State of Utah and unincorporated private lands in the following areas will have increased fire restrictions:

  • State lands and unincorporated private lands in Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties.
  • BLM Moab, Price, and Monticello field office areas located in Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties.
  • NPS including Canyonlands and Arches national parks, and Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments.
  • USFS Moab, Monticello, Price, and Sanpete ranger districts of the Manti-La Sal National Forest, areas within Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan, and Sanpete counties in Utah, and Mesa and Montrose counties in Colorado.

Fire restriction orders are specific to each agency and may contain different stipulations, but all the orders have the following prohibited acts in common:

  • No wood or charcoal campfires are allowed anywhere, including designated campgrounds.
  • No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area that is paved, barren, or cleared to mineral soil.
  • No metal cutting, welding, or grinding activities in areas of dry vegetation.
  • No discharging or using any kind of fireworks, steel tipped/core ammunition, tracer ammunition or other pyrotechnic devices including exploding targets.
  • Devices fueled by petroleum or liquid propane gas with a shut-off valve are allowed in areas clear of flammable vegetation within 3 feet of the device.

New restriction orders supersede previous restriction orders for participating agencies and will be in place until the fire hazard subsides. Maps and specific information about the restrictions may be found at: https://utahfireinfo.gov/fire-restrictions/

For more information about fire restrictions, wildfires, fire prevention and fuels treatment projects, visit www.utahfireinfo.gov.

Fire agencies urge that residents always extinguish campfires, dispose of cigarettes properly, stay on roads and trails to avoid dry vegetation, and ensure trailer chains do not drag or create sparks.

Pack Creek Fire update

The Pack Creek Fire continues to burn in the La Sal Mountains southeast of Moab, Utah.

As of Friday, it scorched 8,952 acres and was 73% contained, according to InciWeb, a wildfire information system. There are 319 firefighters working the fire, down from more than 500. Fire suppression costs have reached $8.3 million.

The fire was caused by an abandoned campfire June 9. Anyone who has information related to the identification of the responsible party of the Pack Creek Fire can call the tip line at (775) 355-5337.

The Pack Creek Fire transitioned back to the Manti-La Sal National Forest on Friday morning.

Fire activity has been moderated by the increase in moisture and cloud cover. The increase in moisture is forecast to remain in the Moab valley for several days with the possibility of wetting rain over the fire area.

Smoke visible from Moab is due to fire activity northwest of Mount Tukuhnikivatz, and is inside the fire perimeter. Current fire behavior is minimal, but residents and visitors may continue to see smoke in the coming days. The fire continues to creep and smolder in Geyser Pass in thick spruce-fir forest and on Haystack Mountain, where the terrain is too steep for crews to safely access. Firefighters will continue to extinguish hot spots and patrol the fire until containment is achieved.

The La Sal Loop Road is now open; however The Manti-La Sal National Forest Closure remains in place and the area remains closed for recreation on public lands. The forest closure can be found at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/mantilasal/alerts-notices.

It’s recommended to avoid driving on the La Sal Loop Road unless necessary to access private property because of the continued presence of fire traffic. The roads to Oowah Lake, Warner Lake, and Geyser Pass remain closed. Road closures for La Sal Pass Road and Dark Canyon Lake Road remain ongoing because of fire activity on the northeast side of the fire. Evacuations remain in place for the Geyser Pass area, and from Blue Lake to the east towards the Dark Canyon area.

Trail closures associated with the Pack Creek Fire include: the Whole Enchilada, Burro Pass, Dry Fork of Mill Creek, Moonlight Meadows, Clark Lake, Warner to Miners, Mountain View, Schumanns Gulch, Trans La Sal, South Mountain, Pack Creek, and Hells Canyon.

Investigators are still seeking leads to help identify those responsible for the fire’s ignition.