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150-acre wildfire in southern Utah caused by car with mechanical issue

Posted at 4:26 PM, Jun 03, 2024

KANE COUNTY, Utah — A wildfire broke out near the border of Utah and Arizona Monday afternoon, impacting residents and drivers traveling through the area.

The fire started around 1:30 p.m. just off U.S. Highway 89 near milepost 49, east of Kanab.

"Vehicle lost a tire or lost something off of the car, sparked the fire and got it going," explained Alan Alldredge with the Kane County Sheriff's Office. "And then with the high winds that we've had, it pushed it pretty quick."

The highway was blocked off in both directions due to the blaze. Officials gave an update around 7 p.m. Monday that it had been reopened.


Officials said there were structures threatened, but no evacuations. The fire burned multiple power poles, and there have been some power outages in Kanab as a result.

"At first it was precautionary," Alldredge said. "Our fire warden had asked the guard to shut the power off because the power was burning under the power lines."

As the fire impacted Utah and Arizona residents, multiple agencies, including Kanab City Fire, Fredonia (Arizona) fire crews, the BLM National Park Service, Forest Service and Kane County teams responded to try to efficiently contain the blaze.

Fire crews managed to stop its forward progress at about 150 acres. It was 15 percent contained as of Tuesday morning.

Alldredge said crews were able to tow the car into town and said the fire was sparked by a mechanical issue, not a preventable issue like a dragging chain.

"Something actually came loose off of the vehicle and then out into the grass and that's what started this fire at this time," he clarified.

But as the fire comes just days after state-mandated restrictions went into place, Aldrige said it serves as a good reminder that southern Utah is DRY and a fire can be easily sparked.

"Just be careful of anything that starts a fire, you know, keep an eye on your kids," he said. "Make sure you check your trailer's chains up, make sure your tires and axles and brakes are in good shape if you're traveling. If you're out camping, you know, watch your fires."

An investigation is underway and Alldredge said he was unsure if any citations would be issued as the incident appeared to be accidental.


Stay with FOX 13 News for the latest on this developing story.