UPDATE: Bear Fire, burning near Helper, over 50% contained

Utah Wildfires

Courtesy: Geoff Liesik, BLM

FRIDAY 6/18/2021 8:19 a.m.

HELPER, Utah (ABC4) – The Bear Fire, located near Helper, is now more than half-way contained.

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In a Friday morning update, Utah Fire Info reports the lightning-sparked Bear Fire, now at 12,170 acres, is 59% contained.

This comes after firefighters were able to work to blacken line in Hardscrabble Canyon by first laying hose up a ridgeline, then starting to carefully fire off that line, securing containment behind the town of Helper.

Increased winds posed concerns Thurday, but no spread was reported outside the lines.

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Crews will continue mopping up and cold trailing lines on Friday. Additional burning is possible in Hardscrabble Canyon, should conditions permit.

A Red Flag Warning remains in effect today for scattered, dry thunderstorms. Winds could top 50 mph in the area, which could challenge firefighters.

Bear Fire now 30% contained

WEDNESDAY 6/16/2021 12:33 p.m.

HELPER, Utah (ABC4) – The Bear Fire, burning near Helper, is now 30% contained, according to fire officials.

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As of Wednesday morning, the fire has reached over 11,600 acres after remaining relatively inactive overnight.

All road closures and evacuations have been lifted. Wednesday will be the last night a night shift crew will remain on scene.

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During the day, crews will continue buttoning up the line along Hardscrabble Road and in between Sowbelly and Robinson Gulches to make sure any remaining heat stays checked high on the ridgelines.

Crews will also mop up along the western side of the fire, checking carefully to make sure there is no heat that could threaten the perimeter.

Bear Fire improves overnight, 19% contained

TUESDAY 6/15/2021 7:20 a.m.

HELPER, Utah (ABC4) – Fire officials announced Tuesday the Bear Fire had little to no growth overnight, despite the windy and warm conditions.

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Previous fuel treatment, which included prescribed fires, helped mitigate the fire, causing little damage to the Price Recreation Area.

Authorities state crews are in the area of Robison Gulch, working to complete a line along the southwest edge of the fire.

A Red Flag Warning has been extended over the fire area, resulting in record high temperatures. The system is expected to weaken tomorrow bringing in cooler temperatures.

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Bear Fire hits 10.9K acres, 14% contained

MONDAY 6/14/2021 9:42 a.m.

HELPER, Utah (ABC4) – While the Bear Fire, burning northwest of Helper, grew from Sunday to Monday, officials say they have achieved greater containment of the blaze.

In a Monday update, Utah Fire Info reports infrared and maps show the Bear Fire has reached about 10,932 acres and is now 14% contained. That’s an increase, on both data points, from Sunday when the fire was at 10,526 acres and 10% contained.

The fire, sparked by lightning, is one of a handful firefighters are battling across Utah.

Bear fire burns 10,526 acres, 10% contained

SUNDAY 6/13/2021 9:38 a.m.

HELPER, Utah (ABC4) – The Bear Fire, burning four miles northwest of Helper, currently burns through 10,526 acres and is 10% contained, as of June 13.

According to officials, firefighters will likely burn along Spring Canyon Road, if conditions permit, to remove vegetation along that fireline. Successfully blackening that line is a critical step in protecting the community to the south, and firefighters will actively work today to complete that in advance of the fire. 

Firefighters state that Highway 6 remains open and remind that a Red Flag Warning is in effect for the fire area and for high temperatures and increased winds.

Firefighters make progress against Bear Fire

FRIDAY 6/11/21 8:20 p.m.

HELPER, Utah (ABC4) – As the Bear Fire continues to burn in Carbon County, fire officials report both good and bad news Friday night.

The good news is that fire crews had success creating solid anchor points along US-6 to start direct attack on the fire, according to authorities.

The bad news, however, is that crews haven’t been able to execute on that attack just yet.

According to fire officials, firefighters have been pulled from US-6 due to reports of drivers speeding and passing illegally on the highway.

This comes a few hours after US-6 was officially reopened to traffic.

The Bureau of Land Management asks those traveling on the highway to “please slow down, follow the traffic laws, pay attention to your surroundings, and give firefighters the room they need to do their jobs.”

The California Interagency Incident Management Team 10, a Type 2 team, has assumed command of the Bear Fire, according to fire officials.

As of Friday morning, the Bear Fire is reported to have reached 8,332 acres and is 0% contained.

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US-6 reopened, drivers urged exercise caution as Bear Fire continues

FRIDAY 6/11/21 6:19 p.m.

HELPER, Utah (ABC4) – US-6 is now open in both directions through the Bear Fire area in Carbon County.

Fire officials say pilot cars are present in both directions on the highway in order to protect the public and firefighters battling the wildfire, which as of Friday morning was reported to be 8,332 acres and 0% contained.

Drivers should expect delays, pay attention to the road, and exercise caution by following pilot cars, as authorities say rock falls continue to take place in the area.

Courtesy: Jason Porter, BLM

Pilot cars to guide traffic on US-6 as Bear Fire continues to burn

FRIDAY 6/11/2021 12:44 p.m.

HELPER, Utah (ABC4) – Pilot cars will now guide traffic on US-6 in Carbon County as the Bear Fire continues to burn.

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Utah Fire Info reports that as of 12:30 p.m. Friday, traffic on US-6 from the north end of Helper to the US-191 turn off will be down to one lane with pilot cars.

Motorists should expect delays.

Friday morning, the fire was reported to be at 8,332 acres, 0% contained.

Bear Fire burns over 8.3K acres, 0% contained

FRIDAY 6/11/2021 8:26 a.m.

HELPER, Utah (ABC4) – The wildfire burning near Helper in Carbon County is now at 8,332 acres.

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The Bear Fire prompted pre-evacuation orders for 10 residents on Frontage Road, Lincoln Road, and 10th North Thursday night.

Spring Canyon Road was also closed due to heavy traffic from the public.

As of 6 a.m. Friday, Helper Fire reports the Bear Fire is 0% contained as 230 personnel continue to battle the blaze.

“Today there will be more firefighter presence in Helper,” the fire department says. “Please stay out of the way and do not line the roads with cars to watch as it hinders crews accessing the fire.”

The nearby Bennion Creek Fire, burning in Utah County, has burned a total of 2,500 acres as of Thursday night. It is also 0% contained.

Pre-evacuation notice given to 10 homes in Helper due to Bear Fire

THURSDAY 6/10/21 10:29 p.m.

CARBON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – A pre-evacuation notice has been issued for 10 homes in the northwest corner of Helper.

The evacuation notice has been issued due to the Bear Fire’s behavior and firefighting efforts in close proximity to the homes.

The homes that fall within the red boundaries are the only homes that currently fall under the pre-evacuation notice:

Wildfire officials are asking that the public stay out of the way of firefighting efforts.

Firing operation conducted on Bear Fire successful

THURSDAY 6/10/21 7:55 p.m.

CARBON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – The firing operation that crews conducted on the Bear Fire in Carbon County Thursday was successful.

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Fire officials say they were able to effectively keep the wildfire from spreading to the east side of US-6, which was shut down Wednesday night.

As of Thursday night, the fire remains at 5,479 acres and is 0% contained, according to officials.

US-6 currently remains closed from milepost 221 to 230 with a detour in place.

Crews work to prevent Carbon County fire from spreading

THURSDAY 6/10/21 2:12 p.m.

CARBON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – As the Carbon County Bear Fire continues to burn, crews are doing what they can to prevent the flames from spreading.

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In an effort to keep the fire from reaching the east side of US-6, which was shut down Wednesday night, firefighters are conducting a firing operation along the west side of the highway.

The Bureau of Land Management says this fire operation will help crews establish an anchor point so they can build containment lines to keep the fire in place. It will also consume unburned fuels in the path of the main fire to hopefully slow its rate of spread, according to officials.

In addition to the smoke and fire hazards present along US-6, crews on the scene are also reporting rocks, some of them large, are rolling down the hillside onto the road.

According to officials, this type of hazard is common with wildfires, as they often destroy vegetation which holds rocks and boulders in place.

As of Thursday morning, the Bear Fire, which investigators say was caused by lightning, has burned 5,479 acres with no reports of containment.

US-6 currently remains closed in both directions from milepost 221 to milepost 230. The Emma Park/US-191 detour route is open.

Bear Fire grows, shuts down US-6

THURSDAY 6/10/21 7:44 a.m.

CARBON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – The Bear Fire, about four miles northwest of Helper in Carbon County, has burned 5,479 acres, according to Utah Fire Info. On Wednesday, the fire was estimated to be at 5,300 acres.

This comes after an early Thursday morning infrared flight. No containment has been reported.

According to a Thursday morning update, the lightning-caused fire started on Tuesday, June 8, near US-6. Wednesday evening, the fire reached US-6, forcing the highway to close.

US-6 remains closed in both directions from milepost 221 at the Emma Park Road junction to milepost 230 at the US-191 junction. As of Thursday morning, there is no word yet on when those lanes may reopen.

If you are driving in the area, officials say you will need to use Emma Park Road and US-191 as an alternate route around the closure. Expect delays in the area.

Utah Fire Info reports firefighters completed a successful firing operation Wednesday night on the southeast corner of the fire along US-6, but the highway is expected to remain closed through Thursday.

“We’re going to try to get the highway opened back up,” Type 3 Incident Commander Jason Porter says, “but it’s highly likely the fire will reach US-6 again today just due to the winds that are forecast.”

Crews say the high winds forecasted for Thursday will likely make it unsafe for firefighting aircraft to fly due to the type of flying they are required to do. The winds could not only ground the aircraft, but potentially increase fire activity.

“Our emphasis today is holding the fire west of US-6 and reinforcing the work we’ve already done to protect the Price River Water Improvement District water treatment plant and other structures near the fire,” Porter said.

Currently, there are five crews, 12 engines, and a helicopter assigned to the Bear Fire for a total of 159 personnel. The Bear Fire is sharing air resources assigned to the nearby Bennion Creek Fire. A Type 2 incident management team is expected to assume command of the fire on Saturday.

‘Bear Fire’ in Carbon County estimated at 5,300 acres, cause is determined

WEDNESDAY 6/9/2021 7:34 p.m.

CARBON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – The Bear Fire in Carbon County has now reached as estimated size of 5,300 acres.

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US-6 near Bear Canyon is closed in both directions as crews work to contain the fire to the west side of the highway.

The fire is at 0% containment as of Wednesday evening.

Investigators have now determined that the wildfire was caused by lightning.

Three hotshot crews, 10 engine crews, and a helicopter have all been assigned to help put out the fire.

Carbon County wildfire estimated at 3,500 acres

WEDNESDAY 6/9/2021 12:15 p.m.

CARBON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – A reconnaissance flight has revealed the Bear Fire in Carbon County is now estimated to be about 3,500 acres in size.

“It was definitely burning through the night,” Type 3 Incident Commander Jason Porter says. “After our flight we are seeing some good options, some opportunities to get in there and slow the fire’s progress.”

Fire officials say the Bear Fire is moving primarily to the west and north, following the terrain. With wind speeds increasing, and the temperature rising, conditions are ideal for rapid fire growth.

Wednesday morning, officials reported the fire has reached 1,791 acres, more than doubling in size since Tuesday. Additional firefighting aircraft, including large air tankers, are being shared with the nearby Bennion Creek Fire. More firefighting resources have been ordered.

While US-6 remains open, drivers are asked to avoid unnecessary travel through the area for their safety and the safety of firefighters.

Carbon County wildfire spreads to over 1,970 acres

WEDNESDAY 6/9/2021 8:39 a.m.

CARBON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Located about four mile northwest of Helper in Carbon County, the Bear Fire has reached 1,971 acres as of Tuesday night.

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As of Wednesday morning, the fire remains at 0% contained with the cause under investigation.

Utah Fire officials first reported the blaze Tuesday evening, estimating the fire to be at 60 acres. By 8 p.m., the fire had reached 500 acres.

“It’s burning like what we would expect in our peak season, which would be mid-July,” Incident Commander Jason Porter says. “This kind of fire behavior is about a month early for us. It’s burning through north slopes that should still be wet right now.”

The fire started near mile marker 228 on US-6. Firefighters have been unable to build any containment line around the fire so far because it is burning in terrain too steep and rugged for a person on foot.

The Bureau of Land Management shared the below photos of the Bear Fire. Widespread smoke and intense orange flames can be seen in the area.

Air tankers have been used to try to slow the fire’s spread, and crews have focused on working to protect structures near the fire area, according to officials.

About a dozen structures are threatened by the fire.

Two hotshot crews, six engine crews, an air attack plane, and a helicopter assigned to the Bear Fire but because of the number of fires currently burning, air tankers are only being called in as need. None have been specifically assigned to the Bear Fire as of Wednesday morning. More crews and engines have been ordered.

Officials say the fire behavior moderated overnight, but remained active. Wednesday’s forecast calls for low humidity, strong winds, and high temperatures, posing the potential for rapid fire growth and increased fire activity.

The Price Canyon Recreation area remains closed while US-6 is open. Smoke or fire operations could impact travel. Be sure to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles and give firefighters the room they need to work safely.

“Aside from firefighting operations and the terrain, our biggest hazard right now is the traffic on the highway,” Porter explains.

Wildfire in Carbon County spreads to over 500 acres

TUESDAY 6/8/2021 8:14 p.m.

CARBON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Officials say a wildfire in Carbon County has now grown to over 500 acres in size as of Tuesday evening.

Two structures are now threatened as a result of the new wildfire, dubbed the “Bear Fire.”

Wildfire authorities are urging the public to not stop along Highway 6 to take photos of the fire, as it interferes with firefighters’ ability to respond to the fire.

Original Story: New wildfire breaks out in Carbon County

TUESDAY 6/8/21 5:12 p.m.

CARBON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Emergency crews are investigating a new wildfire in Carbon County.

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Officials say the fire, dubbed the “Bear Fire,” is located near Price Canyon off of Highway 6 near mile marker 228.

The fire, estimated to be 60 acres in size, is “growing rapidly,” but is not threatening at this time, officials said.

Emergency crews were forced to disengage from the wildfire due to the fire’s “behavior.”

Air resources have been dispatched to handle the fire.

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