Spirit Fire in Washington County 65% contained, threatens homes

Southern Utah

WASHINGTON COUNTY (ABC4 News) – The Spirit Fire burning west of I-15 near Pintura in Washington County reached 65% containment Friday, fire officials said.

Crews are working to contain smoldering embers and occasional flare-ups as the 17-acre blaze threatens two homes and three outbuildings.

The human-caused fire started about 7 p.m. Thursday in a very rocky area that’s posing a challenge for firefighters, according to officials with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

With high temperatures, single-digit humidity, and wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour in Friday afternoon’s forecast, fire management officer Mike Melton said firefighters needed to work quickly to contain the perimeter of the blaze fueled by pinyon pine, juniper, brush and grass.

“We’re still in fire season in Southwest Utah, and fuels are still very susceptible,” Melton said. “The weather conditions will become more in the fire’s favor than in the firefighters’ favor.”

8 engines, 2 water tenders, 1 bulldozer, and 25 personnel were on scene Friday.

Four structures are within 200 yards of the east flank of the fire, but southwest winds Friday were expected to steer the flames away, Melton added. No one has been injured or needed to evacuate.

Although Melton said fire crews feel comfortable with the plan in place, they could call for aerial support if needed, requesting a helicopter from Cedar City or fixed-wing support from Colorado and California.

Firefighters said one of their biggest concerns is that someone will start another fire nearby, stretching their resources thin.

“We just need people to be extremely cognizant that we do have fire danger and their actions could cause a problem,” said Melton.

Investigators said they’re still determining the exact cause of the wildfire.

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