LEEDS, Utah (ABC4) – Firefighters are trying to contain the Oak Grove Fire in Washington County, after officials say a campfire was left unattended Sunday, causing 300 acres to burn.
“That fire was a human-caused fire, by an unattended campground just southwest of the campground area, up in the Pine Valley Ranger District,” says Kevin Abel, a spokesperson for Dixie National Forest.
Officials evacuated the campground Sunday, but say getting to the fire was a challenge due to the inversion.
“It holds the smoke closer to the ground, it also assists the fire in not allowing it to get a lot of air, and to burn quickly, however it does limit the availability of putting aircraft in the air,” says Abel.
The inversion is now lifted and aviation crews are dropping water as the fire continues to burn up the canyon.
“We’re within the first 24 hours so at this time we’re not calling any containment,” says Abel.
At the beginning of the summer, fire officials closed the campground due to fire danger, but say it opened just a few weeks ago, after southern Utah saw several days of rain.
“Whether we just got a rainstorm or not, there’s always a risk of fire danger out there, we try to mitigate all these risks and that’s not always possible, when you have someone who’s careless and leaves an unattended campfire, you know all the safety precautions we have may not be enough,” says Abel.
Officials are reminding people to put out flames properly, to prevent a fire like this from happening.
“Make sure you pour enough water on it, you stir it up and put some more water on it, and make sure none of the embers are hot, if there are hot embers, they will reignite when the wind picks up,” says Abel.
Firefighters are asking people to stay away from the Forest Service 023 Road, to allow them to get in and out safely.
Who’s responsible for the fire is under investigation.