Lightning-caused brush fire burning in Washington Co.

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jul 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-26 23:06:53-04

VEYO, Utah – Fire crews are continuing to watch a wildfire burning in Southern Utah near the city of Veyo. The Cinder Pit Fire sparked Thursday due to lightning.

Initial estimates put the size at between 30 and 50 acres. But Friday, reconnaissance discovered the fire had quickly grown to 439 acres.

“With the winds and the weather, the fire grew quite rapidly,” says BLM incident commander Shawn Petersen.

Multiple agencies from across the region came to help battle the flames. Many of the large-scale attacks came by air. Two helicopters and two fixed wing aircraft dropped water and retardant, aiming to kept the fire from getting bigger.

“A lot of these fires, when they start, we put them to work immediately,” says Petersen. “That helps us get an upper hand. And get the crews in on the ground faster.”

The fire threatened four homes in the area. Two are occupied by permanent residents. Monique Jackson is one of them. She says it was unnerving to come home and find flames so close to their home.

“When I pulled up the road last night,” says Jackson, “It was all I could do to not cry because it brought back all of those memories.”

Memories of two years ago when a lightning-caused fire destroyed their home. It took the Jacksons a year to re-build. Now, they’re evacuating again.

“They said, ‘pack a bag,'” Says Jackson. “And we were still moving pictures and mementos.”

By Friday night, the fire was 40 percent contained and ground crews had made significant progress in fighting the fire.

Petersen says they’re hopeful to have full containment quickly.