Lightening causes wildfires

Giant columns of smoke raised to the sky several times in the past days in San Juan County, as federal, state and local officials fought a fire season triggered by lightening and strengthened by strong winds.

Lightening strikes grew into large fires very quickly, with three fires growing to up to 600 acres before they were controlled.

A lightening-caused fire on August 7 was the cause of much concern in the Lockerby area east of Monticello. The fire grew to 660 acres, including public and private ground, before it was contained on August 9.

A fire at Duck Lake on Elk Ridge is being monitored by firefighters. It grew to 617 acres.

A fire at Cooper Springs on Dry Mesa was still growing, at just under 600 acres, as of Monday, August 10.

An additional 13 fires over the weekend were contained at a single tree before they could grow. Other fires have been reported at Alkali Flat and Squaw Point.

Brian Mattox, at the Southeast Utah Fire Center, praised the response of fire crews and the support of local agencies.

Mattox adds that the Utah fire information site at is a good source of information for area residents.

San Juan Record

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Monticello, UT 84535

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