Fast-growing Wildfire Reaches 6600 Acres in Hours, Threatens Cabins in Utah

STRAWBERRY RESERVOIR — As many as seven cabins are threatened by a wildfire that ignited Sunday afternoon a few miles from Strawberry Reservoir, officials said.

The Dollar Ridge Fire started about 41/2 miles southeast of Strawberry Reservoir and quickly grew to about 6,600 acres as of 9 p.m. Sunday, burning a mix of private and public land, according to Jason Curry, spokesman for the Utah Division of Forest, Fire and State Lands. It was 0 percent contained.

A total of 10 structures were under threat and up to seven of them may be cabins, he said.

A few cabins were evacuated, while others were put on high alert with a pre-evacuation notice, according to Curry.

Curry didn’t know exactly how close the fire was to some of the structures, but said it’s “too close for comfort.” The risk level for the buildings “all depends on the fire behavior, depends on the fuels,” he said.

About 60 responding fire crew members used Aspen Grove Marina as their command post, Sunday. Firefighters from Colorado were among those at the scene.

The fire ignited about 1 p.m. Investigators believe it is human caused, but otherwise still need more details about how it ignited, Curry said.

“We’re looking into it … to try to determine what happened,” he said.

The fire is burning on both Ashley National Forest land and on some private property. It grew rapidly in large part due to conditions in that area which are “drier now than it’s been in many years,” according to Curry. He also noted the windy conditions and the steep terrain in that area.

“There (are) not a lot of opportunities to put ground crews in yet,” Curry said.

The Dollar Ridge Fire also caused the closures of Reservation Ridge Road and parts of Timber Canyon Road in the area.

Also Sunday, federal and state officials reported the Willow Patch Fire east of Richfield was sitting at about 4,500 acres. The fire was 50 percent contained as of 6 p.m. It was threatening some power lines, but no buildings. Nearby state Route 24 remained open.

Containment of the 6,000 acre Black Mountain fire, three miles south of Minersville in Beaver County improved significantly to 90 percent on Sunday. Still, one cabin and a communications tower were considered threatened, federal and state officials reported. The fire, caused by a rollover crash a few days earlier, was expected to be fully contained Monday.

Meanwhile, The West Valley Fire, in the Dixie National Forest about 10 miles northeast of St. George, remained 0 percent contained Sunday. That fire, sitting at about 9,500 acres, was not threatening any structures. Fire officials now believe it is human caused.

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