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Front Page » September 8, 2009 » Emery County News » Tie Fork fire burns 820 acres
Published 2,726 days ago

Tie Fork fire burns 820 acres

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The end of summer has brought lightning, dry fuel and forest fires. Lightning ignited a fire Aug. 25 in Tie Fork Canyon on the Manti-La Sal National Forest. The fire is located about 12 miles northwest of Huntington on Gentry Mountain. Fire managers have assessed the fire and have decided to manage it for resource benefits.

The smoke from the fire is visible to travelers on SR-10 near Huntington and Castle Dale and in Huntington Canyon. The fire does not threaten any structures. The fire is burning in mixed conifer. Although the fire is small, it is expected to grow as temperatures increase and humidity decreases over the next few days. Smoke and flames are most likely to be seen during the late afternoon.

When the Forest Service manages a fire to obtain resource benefits they are returning fire to its natural place in the ecosystem, allowing it to burn dense vegetation and accumulated fuels such as dead timber and forest litter. Managed fires typically benefit such resources as wildlife habitat, grazing areas and watersheds. Managed fire can also create a fuel break to assist in the containment of future fires.

Fire officials monitor the fire carefully, using sophisticated methods to forecast its behavior. They are prepared to suppress the fire if it becomes a threat to lives or property.

Hunters and visitors using the forest this fall are urged to use caution with campfires.

On Aug. 31, the forest service ordered the closure of Mohrland Road, Star Point Road, Gentry Hollow Trail, and Wild Cattle Hollow Trail on Gentry Mountain. The closures are necessary for the safety of the public and fire fighting personnel on the Tie Fork fire.

Cattlemen were allowed into the Tie Fork area early on Aug. 31 to move their cattle to areas of safety.

Fire behavior has slowed since Aug. 30 when it was moving aggressively in the Gentry Hollow area. Fire crews are actively managing the fire keeping it within the designated boundaries where it is allowed to burn.

Although smoke from the fire was heavy on Sunday afternoon, it dissipated late Sunday night and was replaced with residual smoke moving into the area from fires burning in western Utah and California. Smoke settled in valleys throughout the state. People with breathing difficulties should remain indoors and take proper precautions.

Using current weather data combined with historic data, fire officers forecast the most likely path of the fire and take appropriate action to maintain the designated boundaries. For further information visit or contact the Manti-La Sal National Forest at 435-636-3525.

Further information is available on the web at or contact the Ferron Ranger District at 435-384-2372.

The incident commander for the Tie Fork fire is Daron Reynolds. He said there is a crew in place to take care of hot spots. The fire will be suppressed to the east where it borders with private property in Gentry Hollow. Where the fire is burning to the south it will be managed as a resource benefit fire. "We will monitor the fire to see it stays where it needs to," said Reynolds.

John Wytanis is the acting ranger for the Ferron District after the departure of Meshia Nyman. He reported in the Emery County Public Lands Council meeting on the Tie Fork fire. He said moisture is expected and that will help knock down the fire. The Tie Fork area was an area where a prescribed burn was going to be completed in the next five years anyway so a decision was made to let it burn. The burning will improve forage and increase the aspen stands as well as work to take out the dead trees. Part of the Tie Fork fire is in a roadless area which is a tough situation. The smoke seen in the valley comes from several active fires including, Dixie, Fish Lake and the California fires. Currently there is a 20 person crew in the Tie Fork area with four people working on the fire to mainly keep it out of Huntington Canyon.

Wytanis reported he hadn't heard of any livestock loses.

Mistie Christiansen from the lands council said she heard one cow had been lost.

Those involved at the fire area are using helicopters to monitor the fire. Wytanis said the wildlife usually just steps out of the way of a fire.

The Lake Fork fire has been burning since July 4 and didn't increase with the winds. This fire is being managed by the ranger in Ephraim. A fire on the Skyline at Little Horseshoe has now been put out. There is a crew working on the west side of Joe's Valley on mechanical treatments for reduction of fuels near structures.

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September 8, 2009
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