BRIAN HEAD, Utah, June 19, 2017 (Gephardt daily) — A fast-moving wildfire officials said was sparked by human action remains at 957 acres and zero percent contained Monday morning.
Town marshals in Brian Head ordered the entire town evacuated as a wildfire that already engulfed 350 acres in just a few hours Saturday afternoon approached populated areas.
A Facebook post from Brian Head Town Sunday evening said the evacuations will remain in place until further notice.
“The fire did not encroach any more significantly into the town during the day,” the post says. “Crews have made progress. Still only one home confirmed to be lost and three structures damaged. Brian Head Town remains under a complete evacuation order and Highway 143 in Parowan Canyon is closed.”
At 8 p.m. Saturday, a news release from Cigi Burton, public information officer for Dixie National Forest, stated the fire had burned 500 acres and was still active.
“Multiple homes are threatened, as well as a critical watershed,” according to the release. Seven-hundred-fifty people had been evacuated from the town of Brian Head.
When the evacuation order was put in place, it was announced that everyone must leave and no one would be allowed back into the area until the order is lifted.
In an earlier news release, Burton said the blaze started at about 12:20 p.m. and rapidly spread upslope on the northeast side of the town of Brian Head. The town was immediately threatened, and Dixie National Forest and BLM lands are in the path of destruction if the fire isn’t contained.
This is heavy timber country, and all of Iron County has been under a “red flag” fire warning since Thursday.
State Route 143 is closed from Second Left Hand Canyon to the junction of State Route 148 near Cedar Breaks National Monument. The public is advised to avoid the entire area.
Multiple engines from local, state and federal agencies are on scene, as well as air tankers and helicopters.
Because ski season is over, only the few dozen year-round residents of Brian Head were affected, though the posh ski resorts patronized during the winter are in danger of burning if firefighters are not able to stop the advancing flames.
Utah wildlife officials said the fire was the result of human action, but did not say specifically how it started.
Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is released.