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Residents, visitors keep watch of Left Fork Fire burning near Bryce Canyon

Posted at 9:45 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 12:35:32-04

GARFIELD COUNTY, Utah — On Monday, a massive smoke cloud from the Left Fork Fire burning southwest of Bryce Canyon National Park could still be seen for miles.

The fire reignited and took off on Saturday after being mostly contained and monitored following the initial firefight in mid-May.

“It’s scary,” said Rocky Halladay, who lives nearby in Alton. “We’ve had a wind going east, so that has put the fire in our favor, but today when the wind stopped, actually last night when it stopped, that made us a little bit more nervous.”

The fire is moving northeast and hasn’t forced any large-scale evacuations. However, some campers have told FOX 13 News they’ve been told to pack up and leave.

“This morning [Monday], the sheriff drove up and said, 'Hey, sorry to the bearer of bad news, but that fire's getting too close. We’ve got to go," said Kevin Stewart from California, who was camping in the area. “He was just driving up and back talking to any camper he could find."

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Conditions didn’t work in favor of fire crews over the weekend. High winds didn’t help out either as aircraft were grounded due to potentially dangerous conditions. Air tankers and helicopters were finally able to respond and help with containment efforts on Monday.

“So in areas that we can, we’ve been putting a lot of retardant," said Sierra Hellstrom, a public information officer with the U.S. Forest Service. "We dropped about 83,000 gallons of retardant today around a lot of perimeter, and they’re feeling really good about it."

In the latest update, fire managers estimate that roughly 3,000 acres have burned with roughly 5 percent contained.