Fly Canyon fire on doorsteps of Spring City, Mt. Pleasant
MANTI-LASAL NATIONAL FOREST—Lightning ignited another forest fire on our doorstep last week, and the Manti-LaSal National Forest decided to use the same strategy they are using on the Porcupine Ridge fire near Mayfield and manage the new fire as a controlled burn.
According to information released by the national forest, the fire is being called the Fly Canyon Fire and is located on the Wasatch Plateau approximately 5 miles north of Joe’s Valley and roughly 9 miles east of Spring City and Mt. Pleasant, as the crow flies.
The fire was reported on Thursday, Sept. 8, but is thought to have been ignited by lightning several days earlier.
As of Monday, the blaze, which was originally reported as being 20-30 acres, had grown to an 2,269 acres. The Forest Service attributes the fast growth to recent hot, dry and windy conditions, along with lots of downed and dead aspens and conifers on the forest floor acting as fuel.
According to Adam Solt, Forest Service public information officer, local fire crews initially responded to the fire, but a Central Utah Interagency Fire Team took over management of the fire on Monday. Currently four helicopters, 22 fire engines and 170 personnel are assigned to the fire.
Even with the cloudy weather over the last few days, there were windy conditions that led to fire growth, Solt said. Most of the recent growth was towards the north and northeast towards Potter’s Ponds.
Solt explained that the decision to go with a controlled burn is based on local fire plans that have been developed with public input over a period of years.
“For decades, the Forest Service and other land management agencies suppressed most fires,” Solt said. “Unfortunately, this resulted in decades of dead and downed brush and tree litter. This fuel acts as ladder fuels that can create even more devastating wildfires.”
Solt continued, “Science has changed the way we respond to fires. When we have the right fire, in the right place, at the right time, we can allow fire to play its natural role in the ecosystem.
“Benefits of managed wildfire include reducing hazardous fuels, protecting human communities from extreme fires and minimizing the spread of pests, insects and disease. They also open up the forest floor to enhance wildlife travel paths and provide additional forage for game.”
Several roads and campgrounds east of Sanpete County have been closed. See the accompanying graphic for details.
There is a power line near Potter’s Ponds. A gas line was vented northeast of the fire on Sunday.
Reportedly, protection for the Potter’s Ponds campground, the at-risk power line and the cabins in Upper Joe’s Valley are current high priorities. Firefighters will continue actions to control the fire growth at the road near Potter’s Ponds with both ground and air resources.
For info call Solt at 435-201-0856 or go online to www.utahfireinfo.gov.