SALT LAKE CITY — Fire crews have been battling dozens of fires over the past few days as hot and dry conditions over the Fourth of July prompted multiple blazes to occur, officials say.
The Skull Flat Fire, which is located five miles east of Beaver, remains 50% contained as of Saturday morning, fire information officer Nick Howell said. Crews are working to prep around two miles of indirect fire line on the south end of the fire which will hopefully provide more opportunities for containment.
That said, firefighters believe hotter and drier conditions this weekend will continue to increase fire behavior and flame through those regions over the next couple of days, Howell said. Smokey air is expected today and will be seen from Beaver and through neighboring areas.
Crews on the #SkullFlatFire are prepping two miles of indirect fireline on the south end of the fire. Hotter and drier conditions are expected to increase fire behavior this weekend. Increased smoke is expected today. #NDH— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) July 6, 2019
The lightning-caused Skull Flat Fire now stretches 1,667 total acres, according to Utah Fire Info. It is currently "smoldering and creeping" but no structures and buildings are at risk at this time.
Crews have been using indirect tactics to bring the fire to their control lines, according to a Tweet. About one mile of open line remains and will be the focus for Sunday. Officials say the fire grew an estimated 150 acres Saturday.
There are approximately 149 firefighters assigned to the fire currently, Howell added. This number includes five hand crew members, four fire engines and three helicopters.
#SkullFlatFire The expected, increasing fire activity is occurring with hotter weather. More smoke is visible from Beaver and will likely continue today. Crews are using indirect control lines from previous days to clean up the line for further containment. #NDHpic.twitter.com/RlL6ePafkA— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) July 6, 2019
A new fire also emerged yesterday in Big Hollow, Wasatch County, a couple miles south of Daniel Utah Fire Info reported on Twitter. The fire broke out at around 7 p.m. on Friday with an undetermined cause and has thus far spread to cover around 100 acres.
Due to the remote location of the Big Hollow Fire and the time on Friday night that it was called in, firefighters were only able to contain about 5% of the area Friday night, Utah Fire Info said. They were able to open an old dirt road with the help of a dozer, allowing them access to the southern side of the blaze.
On Saturday, firefighters plan to employ the dozer and two hand crews with fire engines to construct safety lines on the north, east and west portions of the fire, Utah Fire Info reported. No buildings or infrastructure are threatened currently and there are no evacuation orders.
Crews on the #SkullFlatFire used indirect tactics to bring the fire to their control lines today. Approximately one mile of open line remains and will be the focus for Sunday. The fire grew an estimated 150 acres today and is now 1,667 acres. #NDHpic.twitter.com/XEsIQPsPOc— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) July 6, 2019
Big Hollow Road, which is the access road to the fire, is closed all day Saturday so that firemen can work safely, Utah Fire Info said. Steep roads with limited access and potential thunderstorms are the main causes of concern.
Firemen have also been battling other, smaller fires that started in various locations around southern Utah yesterday, all of which are now mostly or fully put out or contained.