06-29-2003, 06:14 PM #1
Utah-Wildfire Erupts near St. george
Wildfire is burning west of St. George
ST. GEORGE — A wildfire started Saturday morning in the Mine Valley recreation area, about 10 miles west of here, steadily grew to 1,000 acres by early evening.
The cause of the Apex Fire remained under investigation, though it did not appear to be caused by lightning, Bureau of Land Management fire information officer David Boyd said.
Smoke from the fire was visible from the city, Boyd said.
"It was very hot here today so that is making it difficult to contain," Boyd said. Clear skies were expected overnight, with similar hot and dry temperatures in the area today, Boyd said.
Hot temperatures and light winds helped spread the flames Saturday afternoon. The fire was burning in pinyon pine and juniper forest located in steep terrain, Boyd said. The blaze slowed somewhat Saturday night as part of the fire entered an area burned several years ago.
Flames had not threatened any homes, but the fire had moved within a quarter-mile of the Apex Mine and a radio tower, Boyd said.
The fire was reported about 9:30 a.m. and was spreading quickly to the southwest, burning mostly grasses on southern slopes and pinyon trees on northern ones, Boyd said.
The Mine Valley area, also called Utah Hill by local residents, is a popular spot for 4-wheel off-road vehicles and all-terrain vehicles. The fire is burning on land owned by the BLM, state and private citizens.
Firefighters were unsure of the exact trigger, but Boyd said the grasses are so dry in the area that even parking a motorized vehicle in the area could ignite a spark.
The Color County Interagency Fire Management Area team was fighting the fire with a crew of 43 firefighters from the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service. Firefighters also were relying on help from four fire engines, three single engine air tankers and one heavy air tanker.Front line since 1983 and still going strong
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