WASATCH/DUCHESNE COUNTIES, Utah, July 9, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The Dollar Ridge Fire has grown to 52,068 acres and remains 35 percent contained, officials said Monday morning.
“Fire crews will continue to construct and improve fireline along the perimeter today taking advantage of cooler daytime temperatures and increased humidity,” an update on the Utah Fire Info Facebook page said.
“Smoke impact to the local communities will be minimal to moderate today.”
A public meeting regarding the wildfire will be held Monday at 7 p.m. in the Duchesne High School auditorium.
“The meeting will not give updates or status of structures in the fire area,” the post said. “Structure assessments are underway now and information will be shared with homeowners at meetings that will be announced within a few days.”
Due to most of the evacuees being able to return to their homes, the evacuation center set up by the Red Cross at the High School has been closed.
A total of 863 people are assigned to the fire, the update said. There are six helicopters, 45 engines and 21 crews working to contain the blaze. The expected date for total containment is Friday, July 20.
“Cloud cover and wetting rains in and around most of the fire area decreased fire activity and provided firefighters an opportunity to conduct direct suppression tactics,” the post said. “Containment efforts focused on the southwest flank of the fire, near Strawberry Reservoir, and along the northern flank where the fire crossed U.S. Highway 40.”
The post said firefighters that were flown into the southern flank Sunday morning and were able to begin containment lines in that section of the fire. Air resources were grounded for most of the day due to weather conditions.
Monday, work will continue in the areas of the fire that have the most heat remaining to reduce the chance that the fire will threaten existing containment lines. A remote fire camp with around 175 firefighters has been established on the northern flank of the fire which will reduce the time that firefighers need to get to their work areas.
Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office also posted updated information on Facebook Monday morning concerning access to the evacuation zones.
The post said: Beginning at noon today, Monday, July 9, Lower Red Creek Road south of U.S. 40 will re-open for RESIDENTS ONLY. This includes Camelot resort and Strawberry Pinnacles. Properties in Avintaquin Canyon are NOT included at this time. Proof of residency (deed, property tax bill, utility bill, etc.) will be required to access this area.
The area is NOT open to the public.
Travel west of Lower Red Creek Road is PROHIBITED. If you are found in this area you are subject to citation or arrest.
On Wednesday, July 11, at 9 a.m. individuals with property south of Currant Creek River in the Fruitland area to the ridge of Currant Creek Mountain (this is the northern part of Zone D1) will be allowed to access their property. Proof of residency (deed, property tax bill, utility bill, etc.) will be required to access this area.
The area is NOT open to the public.
The area south of Currant Creek River will remain closed until Wednesday, July 11, at 9 a.m. and roadblocks are in place to prevent access.
For those re-entering these areas please be aware of firefighter traffic and use caution when traveling the roads. Also, be aware of potential hazards that exist following any wildfire, including downed trees, debris flows and an increased risk for flash flooding.
U.S. 40 and State Route 208 were reopened at 6 p.m. Friday, but officials are warning everyone that stopping anywhere in the area of the Dollar Ridge Fire is strictly prohibited.
Stopping for any reason at any location along the highway within the fire area is not allowed, as all pullouts along the roads must be clear for fire equipment, DCSO said on Facebook.
Speed limits have been reduced to 35 miles an hour through the fire area and are being strictly enforced by Utah Highway Patrol. This is because of limited visibility due to smoke in the area and for the safety of firefighters and the public.
The Dollar Ridge Fire started 4.5 miles southeast of Strawberry Reservoir at about 1 p.m. July 1.
The cause is believed to be due to human activity and is under investigation.
Gephardt Daily will update this story as more information becomes available.
For the latest updates on the Dollar Ridge Fire and other Utah wildfires click here.