UPDATE: 7/17/22 12:47 P.M.
Fire managers report that Saturday’s successful backburn provided a buffer to existing firelines.
The move was made ahead of Sunday’s forecasted winds of plus or minus 45 mph gusts.
See below for footage of drone operation at the scene.
For more information, click here.
UPDATE: 7/16/22 2:30 P.M.
“Successful efforts by firefighters coupled with favorable weather” have limited spread of the Halfway Hill Fire for the past three days.
Sunday is expected to see another round of moisture, yet vegetation in the area remains very dry, fire officials say.
Firefighters are looking to focus on the perimeter of the fire, but vegetation “well inside the fireline” will continue to burn until significant precipitation extinguishes all heat and flames on the fire area.
Officials say as a result, smoke on the interior of the fire may continue to be visible in the coming weeks.
Firefighters will reportedly be using the tactic of backburning today between Sand Rock Ridge and South Fork Chalk Creek to improve the indirect firelines – fireline constructed some distance from the fire’s active edge.
A backfire removes the available grass, brush, and trees from near the indirect fireline to lower the fire intensity of the main fire as it approaches the control line and limit spread beyond the line. Backfires are only completed after careful consideration and planning, officials say.
The Fishlake National Forest has a closure order in place in the vicinity of the Halfway Hill Fire.
The closure order, including a full description of the trails, roads, and areas closed, along with maps are available here.
This story will be updated.
UPDATE: 7/13/22 11:28 A.M.
FILLMORE, Utah (ABC4) – Tuesday afternoon’s thunderstorms brought only a trace of precipitation and gusty winds of up to 35 mph to the Halfway Hill Fire south of Fillmore, according to fire officials Wednesday.
The wind reportedly resulted in embers causing smaller spot fires and a temporary halt to air operations because of high winds and reduced visibility.
Weather conditions also hampered the overnight attempts to map the fire growth, fire officials say.
The fire’s acreage is still being reported at 10,436 acres but will be updated when the next infrared flight can be accomplished.
Firefighters did increase containment to 5% yesterday, but because of erratic winds and fire growth, evacuations have not been lifted for the Virginia Hills subdivision.
The status of the evacuations, and any additional evacuations, will be continuously evaluated to ensure the safety of all area residents, officials say.
Steep terrain and heavy vegetation reportedly continue to challenge firefighters. Rather than working directly along the active fire perimeter on the north edge, they are evaluating locations where they can safely contain the fire.
Working indirectly in this manner, they will use ridges, open meadows, and other natural and manmade features as containments lines. As the fire approaches these predetermined locations, they will then be able to engage in direct fire suppression tactics.
Within the fire perimeter, there are unburned brush, grass, and trees, creating a “mosaic pattern” on the landscape.
In addition to building and strengthening direct and indirect fireline, crews are reportedly working to extinguish any spot fires to the north of containment lines. They will be on the lookout for more spotting driven by afternoon winds.
Wednesday night, officials say downslope winds will continue to push smoke in the valley, which may lead to unhealthy air conditions. “Stay indoors and limit outdoor exertion” when smoke is heavy. Those with sensitive or existing health issues should consult with their health care provider for specific instructions.
Please be aware of “increased traffic in and around the fire area,” particularly during early morning and late evening hours.
Safety of the public and firefighters is the first priority on this and all wildland fires.
The Fishlake National Forest has issued a new and larger area closure that includes the Paiute Trail Road for the safety of firefighters and the public. The updated closure order, including a full description of the trails, roads and areas closed are available here.
See below for updated maps of the fire:
ORIGINAL STORY: 7/10/22 10:25 A.M.
Officials say the fire has increased Monday evening, burning in an area with a high density of dead vegetation in drainage within the current fire perimeter, not causing substantial growth.
Utah Wildfire states that erratic winds and extremely dry conditions made it challenging for firefighting efforts, but they observed moderate fire behavior Sunday.
The Virginia Hills subdivision is still under evacuation until fire managers and the Millard Sheriff are confident residents can return to their homes safely.
Crews reportedly focused on securing line to protect the surrounding communities.
Great Basin Team 4 has assumed command of the fire as of Sunday morning.
See below for video of a fire retardant drop at the scene of the fire:
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.