ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) –  Fire crews in Washington County said a family’s campfire at Red Cliffs Desert Reserve torched acres of land within minutes Saturday evening

Officials from the St. George Fire Department are now warning this year will likely be the worst fire season in the St. George metropolitan area in over a decade.

St. George Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Hooper said a family was sitting by a campfire when it quickly became out of control, burning down 5 acres in less than an hour. Hooper emphasized that if the wildfire were to happen in July, the flames would still be burning right now. 
“If it was a little bit windier and the humidity was a little it lower, it would’ve been a catastrophe,” Hooper said. “It would’ve spread into the mountains.” 
Hooper added that flames reached as high as 15 feet on Cottonwood Road, known locally as Turkey Farm Road and located within Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, and the wildfire took an hour to contain. 
St. George fire officials said this year’s heavy rains have caused grasses to grow a few feet higher than normal, and now the land has dried out quickly, leading to possible extreme fire conditions. 
“I haven’t seen fuel conditions like this in the 19 years I’ve been doing this,” said Hooper. 
Campers and hikers at Snow Canyon State Park said they often see people leaving their fires without putting them all the way out. 
“You just never know when the winds are gonna pick up and that one spark is gonna start something,” said Salt Lake City resident James Green. 
St. George fire crews said that even trailer chains and flat tires on the freeway can cause a catastrophic fire. 
Those causing a human-caused fire may have to pay thousands or millions of dollars depending on the size of the fire, according to St. George fire officials.  
Hooper added that the state will come out with fire restriction orders prior to the Fourth of July weekend. 


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