UPDATED: Fire on Pine Valley Mountain grows to 100 acres with 0% containment

The Spirit Creek Fire has grown to 100 acres, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 3, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Skeet Houston, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A lightning strike that ignited a wildfire Monday afternoon on Pine Valley Mountain has burned through approximately 100 acres as of Tuesday morning.

A lightning-caused fire has burned through approximately 10 to 15 acres on Pine Valley Mountain, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 2, 2020 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

The fire, now known as Spirit Creek Fire, is burning about 1 1/2 miles northeast of Oak Grove Campground with 0% containment, according to a press release issued by the Dixie National Forest on Tuesday.

Kevin Abel with Dixie National Forest told St. George News that due to the location of the fire, which is on steep terrain, it is inaccessible for ground personnel.

“We’ve ordered aviation assets, and they are on their way. And they’ll be here as soon as they can. We don’t have a time frame yet,” he said.

The fire is not moving in a specific direction but rather creeping and smoldering through oak brush, mixed conifer and juniper pinyon with some isolated trees torching on the interior of the fire’s perimeter. The fire will likely continue to expand in the afternoon as the relative humidity drops, but it is not expected to make significant movement, Abel said.

Spirit Creek Fire was reported at approximately 4:21 p.m. Monday and caused by lightning from a storm that swept through the area. The fire is burning in a hard to reach area between Pig Creek and Spirit Creek.

The Spirit Creek Fire burns through the night, growing from 10 to 15 acres to approximately 100 on Pine Valley Mountain, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 3, 2020 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

“They are working their way in right now trying to get close to it,” Abel told St. George News on Monday, adding that they probably wouldn’t actively start engaging with fighting the fire until Tuesday morning because of its location.

He said fires will typically “lay down” during the night hours due to an increase in relative humidity.

“So the activity of the fire is less in the evening,” he said. “There’s a fire crew working their way in now, and they will work when they get there, but they won’t send in a lot of resources unless they have to tonight.”

With regard to how many other lightning-caused fires there were Monday, Abel said that is still under investigation, and they wouldn’t know that until at least Tuesday. They have had multiple smoke checks. Smoke checks, he said, sometimes equate to nothing but dust kicked up into the air or a distant campfire.

“We’ll know more tomorrow,” he said.

Updated Nov. 3, 11 a.m. with details on the growth of the fire.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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