Crews tangle with dozens of new fires
Thirty-five new fires are keeping fire managers busy in the Moab Fire Zone — an area that includes San Juan, Grand, Carbon, Emery and Sanpete counties in Utah and a small section of Colorado. Lightning is the cause of all but one of the new fires.
Several fires — all under an acre in size — are burning near Monticello and Blanding in the Abajo Mountain range.
The Linnaeus Fire, which began July 26 above the Dry Wash diversion ditch, is being monitored. Others nearby have been suppressed by state, Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service crews and local volunteers.
The largest fire is actually a complex of three smaller fires totaling 210 acres in the Westwater area south of Interstate 70. Four engines, two local fire crews and a hotshot crew were assigned to suppress this fire. Because fuels in the area were mostly light, the fires were quickly brought under control.
North of I-70, the 549-acre Tavaputs Fire is being managed by smokejumpers using a confine/contain strategy. The Lake Fork Fire in Sanpete County, which grew six acres in the last week to a total size of 735 acres, is being monitored by a small fire crew. Several single-tree fires were reported in Carbon and Emery counties.
In the north end of Grand County, the Willow Creek Fire is burning on three acres of state land east of the Ouray-Uinta Reservation. Helicopter crews and firefighters are suppressing the fire because of its proximity to ranches.
So far this year, 101 fires have burned a total of 2,722 acres in the Moab Fire Zone. These numbers are below the 10-year average. But because the fire season started so late this year, fire managers expect it will persist into the fall.
The public is urged to exercise caution with outdoor fire and to contact the Moab Interagency Fire Center at 435-259-1850 to report any new fires.