Containment progress continues on Brian Head Fire; Panguitch Lake reopens

A firefighter uses a backpack pump to spray water on a hotspot in the Clear Creek area above Panguitch Lake, Garfield County, Utah, July 1, 2017 | Photo courtesy Color Country Interagency Fire Center, Cedar City News / St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Firefighters continue to make significant progress on the Brian Head Fire, which reached 65 percent containment as of Sunday morning, allowing more residents to return home and more roads to be opened.

Map of Brian Head fire as of 12:51 p.m. MST, July 2, 2017 | Image courtesy InciWeb, Cedar City News / St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

The total area burned has reached 65,377 acres, or approximately 102 square miles, according to an interagency incident information management system update Sunday evening.

Fire managers expect the entire western flank of the fire perimeter to be contained by the end of Sunday. Dozers have been used to create containment lines along the northern flank where the fire continues to actively burn.

Type 2 Incident Management Team members, who have been fighting the fire since it started June 17, will return to their home units Sunday in Nevada, Idaho and Utah.

In a news release issued by Color Country Interagency Fire Center, Incident Commander Tim Roide expressed his appreciation on behalf of his team and all those who have been working on the Brian Head Fire for the support the team has received from the communities affected by the fire.

Additional areas reopen

Smoke is apparent on the horizon from the vantage point of Panguitch Lake, Garfield County, Utah, July 2, 2017 | Photo by Scott Young, Cedar City News / St. George News

State Route 143 was reopened from Parowan to Panguitch Sunday afternoon. Panguitch Lake also opened Sunday to all recreational activities.

Residents of Second Left Hand Canyon have been allowed to return to their homes, but both First and Second Left Hand Canyon remain closed to general traffic.

Travelers to these areas should remain on the highway and drive slowly. Drivers should be on the lookout for potential hazards, such as falling rocks and debris, and there will still be fire equipment and utility repair companies working along the roadway.

Current evacuations

Communities still under evacuation orders include Bear Valley, Horse Valley, Beaver Dam, Clear Creek, Castle Valley and Blue Springs. Evacuations are evaluated daily.

A firefighter battling the Brian Head Fire cuts a snag, July 2, 2017 | Photo courtesy InciWeb, Cedar City News / St. George News

The American Red Cross relocated its services from Panguitch High School to Panguitch Lake Sunday evening. The emergency relief shelter at the high school was also removed as residents are allowed to return home. No residents were registered at the shelter.

Over the next few days, Red Cross volunteers will distribute free clean-up kits, masks and other services to the residents in the Panguitch Lake area.

The clean-up kits were donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and contain bleach, masks, gloves, paper towels, garbage bags, cleaning solutions, sponges, brushes and other cleaning items.

Anyone affected by the Brian Head Fire may contact the Red Cross at its website for assistance.

Closures

Five Mile and Three Mile Roads are closed due to fire activity. The Dixie National Forest has an area closure on lands north of state Route 14. Maps of the closure area are posted at InciWeb.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • paul July 3, 2017 at 1:09 am

    Nice job and all you hard work you guys rock

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