Middle Ridge Fire burning 800 acres is one of several lightning-caused blazes

Posted at 2:39 PM, Jul 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-03 23:22:33-04

SOUTHERN UTAH – Crews are battling several wildfires in southern Utah, northern Arizona and western Nevada that were caused by lightning strikes, and officials stated Wednesday there had been as many as 1,000 lightning strikes in the area within 48 hours.

According to information from Utah fire officials, lightning sparked over 20 different wildfires in the area. The largest fire currently is the Middle Ridge Fire on the Nevada side of the border; the fire has since moved across the state line and into Utah and it is burning on an estimated 800 acres.

“We’re keeping an eye on it,” says Dixie National Forest Public Affairs Officer Joe Harris. “But the suppression resources and the dispatch center in Nevada is taking charge of suppressing that fire.”

The Middle Ridge Fire is about 5 miles south of Beaver Dam State Park in Nevada. Bureau of Land Management resources are responding to the fire.

The Bull Mountain Fire was also started by lightning and is burning on an estimated 150 acres. The fire is about 3 miles north of Enterprise Reservoir. The fire briefly threatened homes in the area, but Harris says crews were able to get a handle on the flames overnight.

“It laid down a little last night, and it hasn’t gotten up and moved on us too much yet,” Harris said Thursday morning. “We’re just trying to get folks in place as quick as we can to get on it while it’s quiet.”

The Basin Fire is burning on an estimated 80 acres and is located about 8 miles north of Gunlock.

According to a press release sent on behalf of numerous agencies Wednesday, several smaller fires were reported near Enterprise Reservoir, Utah Hill, Gunlock, Jackson Wash, Motoqua, Quichipah and Wolf Hole. Officials with the Dixie National Forest provided a map of the fires in the area Thursday, and the image is embedded at the bottom of this story.

Washington County and portions of Arizona have been under fire restrictions since June 18. Iron and Kane counties, as well as portions of Garfield and Beaver counties, went under fire restrictions July 1.

The release was sent on behalf of the Bureau of Land Management in Utah and Arizona, Dixie National Forest, Zion and Bryce National Parks, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

Map of fire activity in Color Country Area