Seeley Fire Officials Update Public at Spartan Center in Castle Dale

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As fireВ officialsВ updated the public Tuesday evening on the progress of the Seeley Mountain fire, one major concern came up more than once.

Ferron District Ranger Darren Olsen was first to bring up the topic of beetle-killed trees. Tom Goheen, a representative from Eastern Arizona Incident Management Team, then brought it up again.

Olsen explained that because of the sheer amount of beetle-killed trees on the mountain they just add more fuel to the fire. He ended his speech with a bit of optimism.

“Fire is devastating, but in years to come we expect it to grow back,” he said.

Goheen continued the beetle discussion and added that the beetles have made the Seeley Fire more of a challenge.

“Every fire we are on is a challenge,” heВ explained. “This one is a particular challenge because of the beetle fuels and the early drought as well as the intense fire season.”

Goheen then showed those in attendance a map of the area and detailed where the fire is spreading and where firefighters have made progress. He said that the east side of the fire “had quite a bit of activity there this afternoon.” Goheen described the fire had moved “quite progressively in the Hiawatha area” where helicopters and hand crews were working extensively.

He finished by describing their plan for cutting off the north end of the fire near Scofield, but also detailed an evacuation plan in the event the fire pushes past their current lines in that area.

Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk then mentioned two more evacuation notices. Scad Valley campers and cabin owners as well as campers in the area of Potter’s Pond to SR 31. All other previously mentioned road closures and evacuation notices are still in effect.

Other notes from the meeting:

Captain Kyle Ekker from theВ Emery County Sheriff’s OfficeВ urged residents to keep a 72-hour kid ready in case of evacuation.

Trish Clabaugh from the Bureau of Land Management said 1,400 acres of BLM land had been burned.

Emery County Commissioner James Nelson mentioned to the crowd how thankful he was for those working to extinguish the fire. “We are unhappy that our forest is on fire,” he said. “But we couldn’t have more professional people working for us and taking care of us.”

The evening ended with a slideshow of new fire photos taken by the Emery County Sheriff’s Office.

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