Wildfire triggers evacuations in Utah County

Manti-La Sal National Forest
Bennion Creek Fire burning in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)

UTAH COUNTY, Utah, June 5, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A growing wildfire in the Manti-La Sal National Forest has forced about a hundred people to be evacuated from a nearby Boy Scout camp.

Utah Wildfire Info says the evacuations were ordered out of an abundance of caution rather than direct threat.  In fact, they say no buildings are being threatened at this time. They also say smoke from the fire can be seen from Highway 6 and nearby communities.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Bennion Creek Fire was first reported Friday west of Soldier Summit. At the time, it was burning in an area too remote and rugged for ground crews to get to on foot. By Saturday evening, the fire had grown to an estimated 350 acres with no containment.

A post on the forest service’s Facebook page notes that this is a challenging fire for crews to fight. They’re dealing not only with the steep, rugged and rocky terrain, but red flag conditions as well.

A red flag warning has been in effect since Friday morning for most of southern and central Utah due to the exceedingly hot, dry conditions. The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has the warning in effect in the area where the Bennion Creek Fire is burning until 10 o’clock Sunday night.

The NWS does not expect Sunday to be quite as hot as Saturday, but meteorologists are still predicting it will be 10 degrees hotter than normal. The NWS tweeted that the difference between Saturday and Sunday temperatures will “be more like biting into a jalapeño than biting into a habanero.”

The Forest Service has determined the wildfire was the result of natural causes.

Historically, Utah’s risk of significant wildfires does not rise to “above normal” until late this month and throughout July, but the National Interagency Fire Center shows all of the Beehive State at that level right now. The outlook does not show the risk dropping for most of the state until August. All of Northern Utah, including the Wasatch Front, is expected to be at above normal until at least September.


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