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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, File

Crews removing unsafe trees as Brian Head Fire dies down

By Ashley Stilson, Associated Press | Posted - Jul. 4, 2017 at 10:37 p.m.


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BRIAN HEAD, Iron County — The wildfire that burned more than 105 square miles near Brian Head Ski Resort is dying down, fire officials reported Tuesday.

"Most of the activity continued in the northern portion of the fire," the report said. "Crews in the southern portion of the fire will continue to monitor, secure and mop-up any areas where heat still exists to reduce the threats to containment lines."

On Tuesday crews began evaluating hazardous trees like "snags" and "widowmakers" along Parowan Canyon.

"Snags" are standing dead trees, and "widowmakers" are broken off branches suspended midair by other tree branches, as defined by Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Both are dangerous, and crews plan to remove the selected trees on Wednesday.

Officials are asking travelers to slow down, stay on the highway and be aware of short delays. Utility repairs continue near the Panguitch Lake area.

The Brian Head Fire is the largest active wildfire in the nation, according to a daily report from the National Interagency Fire Center.

The fire burned more than 67,400 acres and is still heading east and northeast, affecting priority sage grouse habitat along the east perimeter. Firefighters have the fire 70 percent contained as of Tuesday.

On Tuesday, firefighters completed an aerial burn out near Little Creek Peak, reducing the amount of fuel at the fire's head.

Five Mile and Three Mile roads remain closed, along with parts of the Dixie National Forest north of state Route 143.

Evacuation orders are still in place for Bear Valley, Horse Valley, Clear Creek (Iron County side), Little Creek Ranch, Red Creek, Second Left Hand Canyon, Co-op Valley, Castle Valley, Little Valley and Tebbs Ranch.

The Brian Head Fire started on June 17 when a cabin owner tried to burn weeds around his property. The wildfire destroyed 13 homes and eight outbuildings and caused hundreds to evacuate their homes for nearly two weeks.

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Ashley Stilson

    KSL Weather Forecast