WASATCH/DUCHESNE COUNTIES, Utah, July 6, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — U.S. Highway 40 was reopened at 6 p.m., but officials are warning everyone that stopping anywhere in the area of the Dollar Ridge Fire is strictly prohibited.
According to the Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. 40 and State Route 208 opened to two-way traffic at 6 p.m. Friday.
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.
Motorists are advised to drive with their headlights on and to stay alert for any changes in circumstances as they travel near the active wildfire, UHP cautioned in a news release.
Mandatory evacuations on the south side of Highway 40 are still in place and are being strictly enforced, UHP and DCSO said.
Any vehicles and people inside the evacuation areas without proper authorization will be ticketed.
The Dollar Ridge Fire, which started Sunday near Strawberry Reservoir, has grown to 47,683 acres and is 4 percent contained officials said late Friday.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that residents south of State Route 40, from Sam’s Wash Road to the Strawberry River Road west of Starvation Reservoir, should evacuate immediately. Evacuations were ordered Monday for Strawberry Gorge, Timber Creek, Beaver Creek, Camelot Resort, the Currant Creek Subdivision and the Pinyon Ridge Subdivision. Evacuated residents were invited to shelter at Duchesne High School at 155 W. Main St.
The U.S. Forest Service Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest also wants the public to be aware that some roads are closed for public and firefighter safety while crews battle the Dollar Ridge Fire.
The following roads are closed:
- Reservation Ridge road (Forest Service road #147) is closed from the Forest boundary on the Spanish Fork Ranger District north to Willow Creek road (Forest Service road #754), then going south and west along the Willow Creek road to the intersection with the Left Fork White River road (Forest Service road #131).
- The Right Fork White River road (Forest Service road #081) is closed from the Forest boundary northeast to the Reservation Ridge road (Forest Service road #147)
- Forest Service road #118 is closed at the intersection with Forest Service road #375.
Fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are prohibited year-round on all National Forest lands.
In a Facebook post earlier in the week, the Forest Service said, “According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year and result in an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
They advise everyone visiting the forest lands:
- Be especially careful when towing trailers or boats, as dragging safety chains can cause sparks and ignite roadside vegetation.
- Use provided metal campfire rings in developed sites.
- Don’t leave campfires unattended, and make sure they are dead out when you leave.
- All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorcycles, should have properly installed and maintained spark-arresters.
- Exploding targets and tracer or incendiary bullets are prohibited on National Forest lands.
The Dollar Ridge Fire started 4.5 miles southeast of Strawberry Reservoir at about 1 p.m. Sunday.
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.