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Firefighters knock down St. George blaze, make progress on Hurricane fire

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WASHINGTON COUNTY — The human-caused Hurricane Assist 2 wildfire has burned nearly 2,200 acres in southern Utah as of Wednesday evening. But firefighters were close to extinguishing the blaze and expect up to 90 percent containment by the end of the night.

It's burning near state Route Highway 59 between Hurricane and Hildale.

Hurricane Assist 2 has not burned any structures, but BLM officials say some could be threatened. The road to Diamond Ranch Academy has been closed due to the fire.

The wildfire started about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. When Hurricane Resident September Smith got home that night, she saw several fire trucks and emergency workers parked in her cul-de-sac.

Smith also saw flames just a few hundred feet away. "I would say probably 6 (foot high) flames, but flare ups even further," she said.

Smith grabbed her camera and took these photos of the ridge just behind her home. Fortunately, the flames were moving away from homes. But there was always the concern the winds would change and bring the fire back.

That's why fire crews worked hard Wednesday in areas that were already burned. They wanted to make sure hotspots were out and keep any potential flare-ups from coming back toward homes.

In fact, except for some deep canyon areas, the flames were mostly out. But crews were battling to knock those fires out too.

"We're working on bringing in the helicopter to do some of the hotspots in some canyon areas that are too treacherous to put firefighters in," Hurricane Fire Chief Tom Kuhlmann said earlier in the day Wednesday.

With the help of helicopter water drops, Eaker said fire crews made good progress throughout the day, but gusty winds and low humidity kept the estimated 75 firefighters fighting to keep the blaze at bay.

As for the cause of the fire, that's something investigators are still looking into. They know a person started it, and where, but they're not quite sure how yet.

As firefighters battled that blaze in Hurricane, another brush fire broke out Wednesday afternoon and was threatening homes a few miles away in St. George.

The second fire was burning near Bloomington Hills in St. George, and forced the evacuation of several homes in the neighborhood.

Fire crews from Washington County and St. George City responded quickly and put out the flames before any homes or other structures could be damaged.

Officials believe the fire was ignited from construction workers who were welding along the highway.


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Alex Cabrero and Pat Reavy


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