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I-15 reopened, evacuations lifted in 3,000-acre southern Utah wildfire

Posted at 4:38 PM, Jul 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 18:25:01-04

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — Evacuations have been lifted and Interstate 15 has been reopened after closing due to a wildfire Sunday in southern Utah.

Residents of Harrisburg and Leeds can now return home after being evacuated Sunday afternoon due to the "Cottonwood Trail Fire," which started just west of I-15 and closed both directions of the freeway for hours.

Both northbound and southbound lanes have since been reopened.

The fire started on the west side of I-15 between Harrisburg and Leeds and later spread to both sides.

State wildfire officials estimated it at 1,631 acres and 35% contained as of Monday afternoon.

The fire was caused by a blown tire and spread quickly due to 15-20 mph winds, but conditions improved Sunday night.

Multiple agencies have assisting in fighting the blaze, including 30 engines, three large air tankers and four helicopters. One firefighter has been taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Rocky Mountain Power reported that more than 5,000 homes in the area of La Verkin and Toquerville experienced outages caused by the fire on Sunday night, but they have since been restored.