Nearly 240-acre fire is still burning west of Monticello
A fire sparked by a lightning strike 45 miles west of Monticello has grown from 15 acres to almost 240 acres since it was first spotted on July 16.
The “Peavine Canyon Fire” in the Dark Canyon Wilderness of the Manti-La Sal National Forest became more active due to drying conditions, according to Forest Service officials in the Moab/Monticello Ranger district.
Breezy conditions caused the fire to move uphill and smoke is visible from U.S. Highway 191. There are 161 people assigned to the fire, including two hotshot crews, six fire engines, and a helicopter, a Forest Service spokesperson reported.
Fire crews are using minimum impact suppression tactics, which utilize a type of fireline that causes “minimal disturbance.” It ensures that fewer trees will need to be cut and more natural features like wet areas and rock outcrops can help stop the spread of the fire, according to the Forest Service.
The crews began burn out operations on July 22 to ensure the fire remains in a controlled area and are monitoring as it continues to burn through thick underbrush.
A Forest Service spokesperson said firefighters are not engaging in active suppression since the fire is in a remote wilderness area and there is no infrastructure at risk of damage. Also, the Peavine Canyon fire is burning in an area that is steep, rocky, and unsafe for firefighters.
Several roads and trails have been closed, including Brush Knoll and Peavine Canyon forest trails, Peavine Corridor Forest Road 089 at the trailhead, Dry Mesa Road at the junction with 55340 Road, and the Dry Mesa Spur Road. The Forest Service requests that forest users avoid the fire area for safety reasons during firefighting operations.
The Forest Service also warns people to be careful in lower elevations as drying grass is creating a fire hazard, particularly along roads and highways.
For more information on the fire and operations in the Manti-La Sal National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/mantilasal.