Bear Fire Reaches Nearly 5,500 Acres

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The Bear Fire, located about four miles northwest of Helper, Utah, has burned 5,479 acres based on an infrared flight conducted at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday. No containment has been reported.

The lightning-caused fire started Tuesday, June 8 near mile marker 228 on US-6. The fire reached US-6 Wednesday evening, forcing the highway to close. US-6 remains closed in both directions from milepost 221 at the Emma Park Road junction to milepost 230 at the US-191 junction. There is no current estimate on when the lanes will reopen.

Drivers will need to use Emma Park Road and US-191 as an alternate route around the closure and should expect delays in the area. The detour route adds about eight miles and 12 minutes to regular travel. Visit udottraffic.utah.gov, use the UDOT Traffic app or follow @UDOTTRAFFIC on Twitter for updates on road closures.

Firefighters completed a successful firing operation Wednesday night on the southeast corner of the fire along US-6. However, it’s expected that the highway will remain closed Thursday.

“We’re going to try to get the highway opened back up,” Type 3 Incident Commander Jason Porter said, “But, it’s highly likely the fire will reach US-6 again today just due to the winds that are forecast.”

A dry cold front is expected to move through the area, bringing the potential for wind gusts of up to 50 mph, but no rain. High winds like these make it unsafe for firefighting aircraft to fly due to the type of flying they are required to do and could ground the aircraft. The winds also have the potential to increase fire activity.

“Our emphasis today is holding the fire west of US-6 and reinforcing the work we’ve already done to protect the Price River Water Improvement District water treatment plant and other structures near the fire,” Porter said.

There are five crews, 12 engines and a helicopter assigned to the Bear Fire for a total of 159 personnel. The Bear Fire is also sharing air resources assigned to the nearby Bennion Creek Fire. A Type 2 incident management team is expected to assume command of the fire on Saturday.

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