WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — A wildfire threatening homes in Southern Utah has grown to 1,234 acres as of Sunday morning.
The Saddle Fire is encroaching on 500 properties in the Pine Valley area, according to a press release from the U.S. Forest Service Dixie National Forest. A voluntary evacuation order is in place for the town’s residents.
On Saturday, air tankers and heavy helicopters used 22,000 gallons of retardant to prevent flames from moving onto the southern face of Saddle Mountain, the release states. Aerial bombardment painted a line of retardant on the south ridges.
Helicopters have also dropped water directly on the blaze to slow it down and give firefighters an edge in preparing suppression and ongoing confinement.
“With the fire burning in areas filled with unnecessary risk and hazards to firefighters, fire managers believe a significant moisture event is needed for multiple days to extinguish the blaze,” the release states.
Personnel crew has grown to 625 firefighters and supporting resources.
The blaze was ignited by a lightning strike on June 13. Flames are most active in the Lloyd and Forsyth Canyons, burning mostly in the downed logs and underbrush in the conifer stands, the release states.