Photo courtesy of Michelle Vance Pilling
Low overnight relative humidity and strong early morning winds on the ridges in the fire area may cause fire activity to pick up earlier today than it did yesterday. Highway 31 (Huntington Canyon Road) will remain closed as equipment and crews continue working in close proximity to the road. Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading across the highway. Emery County Sheriff’s Office closed the highway through Huntington Canyon last evening, from the Power Plant up to mile post 18.5 (the turnoff to Miller’s Flat), as a result of significant fire activity and heavy smoke. All residents and visitors have been safely evacuated, including residents, workers, and recreationalists. The Power Plant does remain open.
The Incident Meteorologist has issued a Red Flag Warning for the day due to critical weather factors. Above normal temperatures, low humidity, atmospheric instability, and increased winds are all expected today. A Red Flag Warning indicates to firefighters that fire behavior could be extreme and rapid fire growth is possible. It is likely the fire will continue to spread north along Highway 31, where timber is denser.
Firefighters are using natural and manmade barriers to contain the fire perimeter and reduce firefighter risk in the thick brush and timber. Rocky ridges and roads are examples of barriers being evaluated. Preparation of these indirect firelines includes the removal of vegetation to widen the barrier. Where terrain allows, firefighters are also using dozers to create firelines around infrastructure in the event the fire reaches those structures. Additionally, helicopters support ground crews by dropping water on the fire, allowing firefighters to work directly along the fire perimeter.
Closures: The Manti-La Sal National Forest has closed Indian Creek Campground, Forest Trail 0051, and Forest Roads 0034, 2302, 2181, 2180, and 2182. Trail Canyon and all campgrounds between the Huntington Power Plant and mile post 18.5 of Highway 31 are also closed.