Bennion Creek Fire has burned over 7,000 acres

Blaze builds between Skyline and Starvation Road

This aerial photo shows the Bennion Creek fire, which is burning on rugged and remote terrain between Skyline and Starvation Road, northwest of Scofield Reservoir.

As the dry season worsens, Utah is getting its first big fires this year, with one nasty one knocking right outside Sanpete’s door.

The Bennion Creek Fire, which is burning in the rugged country northwest of Scofield Reservoir, has now consumed more than 7,000 acres between Skyline and Starvation roads on the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

 “One evacuation order and several closures remain in effect for areas affected by the fire,” said Colin Dunn, Forest Service public information officer. “Firefighters are working aggressively to contain the fire, protect structures and mop up perimeter lines.”

According to a Monday report from Dunn, recent efforts will include building a fire line around the new area of heat on the fire’s southeast side, as well as continuing to work on planning and preparation for possible protection of Scofield Reservoir area structures. For public safety, evacuation orders for Aspen Cove remain.

 “The evacuation order will be reevaluated daily depending on the fire’s activity,” Dunn said. “On the south side of the fire, crews will expand and improve the control line along the heads of Kelly Canyon and Bennion Creek drainages. On the north side, firefighters will secure and improve hand line and dozer line, and scout for opportunities for additional control lines. Scouting of additional control features west of Starvation Creek is ongoing. Crews will remain on the fire line overnight to perform structure protection and fire suppression work.”

Dunn says two CL415 Canadair super scooper aircraft are on hand to help firefighters control the most active parts of the fire, in addition to two heavy, two medium and one light helicopters. Temporary flight restrictions remain in place over the fire.

Smoke can be seen from surrounding communities and from U.S. 6. Starvation Road, Bennion Ridge Road, Bear Ridge Road and Fish Creek Trail are closed for public and firefighter safety.

As of Monday there were eight hand crews, 12 engines, five helicopters and two dozers on site battling the fire.

As of Friday, the Manti LaSal National Forest is implementing stage 1 fire restrictions for all National Forest System lands located within the Sanpete, Ferron/Price, Moab and Monticello Ranger Districts due to record dry condition and extreme fire danger.

“We find conditions out on the forest are extremely dry and due to two consecutive winters of less than normal snowpack, fire restrictions are necessary to reduce the threat of wildfire and to keep everyone safe while recreating on our public lands,” said Darren Olsen, acting Manti-La Sal Forest Supervisor.

Until further notice, the following acts are prohibited until fire danger decreases: Igniting, building, maintaining, or using a fire, including charcoal and briquettes, outside a fire structure that is provided by the Forest Service within a designated area; discharging of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices outside of incorporated city limits; shooting of exploding targets or tracer ammunition; and cutting, grinding, or welding of metal in areas of dry vegetation. This includes acetylene torches.