Lightning strikes cause several fires nearby *Updated*

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Dry conditions are still persisting throughout Utah. Over the weekend, approximately 14 wildfires were started in the local area due to lightning. According to district state fire warden Rudy Sandoval, these fires were quickly extinguished and caused minimal damage.

Sandoval oversees Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties and reported that most of the fires were contained to single trees and less than a tenth of an acre each. “We had three fires near Hiawatha, a few in the Bookcliffs, one near Tavaputs and one south of Scofield,” Sandoval explained. “We have been pretty lucky to catch fires quickly this year.”

A severe lightning storm also passed through the area Tuesday evening. Sandoval confirmed that several fires ignited due to the electrical storm. Two fires ignited in Emery County on National Forest Service land. Due to steep terrain, these fires were left to burn but are being monitored closely.

Two similar fires started near the Price airport as well. One blaze east of the Anadarko Road was completely extinguished while the other called the Alrad fire continues to burn. Once again, the fire is located in rough terrain but is being monitored by fire crews.

Sandoval explained that crews cannot always spot wildfires as soon as they erupt. “We are keeping our fingers crossed,” explained the fire warden. “By 2 p.m. today we should know if there are any fires that we are not aware of in the area and determine if any other fires are burning.”

Recently, fire restrictions have been lifted in local areas. Sandoval does remind residents that this does not mean that burning does not have to be authorized. “It is still a closed fire season which means people need to contact the fire warden for a permit before burning,” explained Sandoval. “Based on conditions, a permit will be issued, otherwise they won’t burn.”

Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont said that there was one  fire on Cedar Hills drive caused by lightning striking two trees. That was extinguished quickly. They also responded to the fire on state land east of the Anadarko road.

To obtain a burn permit, Sandoval recommends contacting public safety dispatch.

Photo by F J Lott

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