Lightning Starts New Fires In Southern Utah

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- Lightning has started several fires in Southern Utah, including a 2,000-acre blaze 30 miles northwest of St. George, called the Middle Ridge Fire.

A 45-acre blaze, called the Mineral Fire, was about eight miles east of Zion National Park near Mount Caramel Junction.

Both fires were started by lightning Wednesday afternoon and were burning in brush, pinon and juniper on Bureau of Land Management property, interagency fire information officers said.

Both burned within one-half mile of unoccupied outbuildings.

The Middle Ridge Fire was moving northeast toward areas recently burned by the Hawkins and Pine Park fires, which will act as fire breaks. It was about three miles away from these areas late Wednesday.

More than 75 fire fighters, aided by three air tankers and five engines, were on the Middle Ridge Fire and about 20 fire fighters, five engines, an air tanker and a helicopter were assigned to the Mineral Fire.

Meanwhile, the Salt Creek Fire nine miles south of Levan was about 20 percent contained late Wednesday, with full containment expected by Saturday.

The fire remained at about 1,500 acres. There were 263 people assigned and three more crews were to join the effort, bringing the total to about 325.

The fire was started by lightning last week, but was not discovered until Monday.