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Crews contain canyon fire, but Rattle blaze continues to rage

Staff reporter

A wildfire rages in Price Canyon a week and one-half ago near the Emma Park Road, where several head of horses appear to be grazing directly in the path of the maelstrom. Although the blaze initially burned 2,500 acres during the first few hours, hard work by emergency crew members from a number of federal, state and local agencies began to get control of the wildfire. Overall, the blaze burned 3,200 acres. As of Monday, the fire still smoldered in the canyon and a skeleton crew was still watching some spots where the blaze could flare up again, given the right conditions.

After burning for a week, the Price Canyon fire has been 100 percent contained.

But although the blaze is fully contained, fire crews will patrol the area for the next several days to make sure that no hidden hot spots reignite the wildfire.

The blaze began June 30 and consumed 3,200 acres. More than 100 fire fighters worked on containing the blaze along with two helicopters and three bulldozers.

The helicopters played a significant role in slowing the fires advances in several crucial areas in which ground crews could not easily access.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. However, one fact is certain - the blaze spread rapidly due to extremely dry conditions. In fact, 2,500 acres were consumed the first day.

Emergency crews gained the upper hand on the blaze quickly and reduced the total amount of acresdestroyed by the wildfire.

The command center which has been stationed at Sally Mauro Elementary will remain for the next several days as crews watch the site of the blaze closely.

The crew members will remain in the Carbon County area to make sure that the fire does not rekindle.

After ensuring that the Price Canyon blaze is definitely extinguished, the crews along with the command center will move on to assist efforts at the scene of a different wildfire.

Although the Price Canyon blaze has been contained, the Rattle Complex fire located 20 miles northeast of Green River continues to burn.

Officials estimate that 74,500 acres have been consumed by the Rattle Complex wildfire and the blaze is only 30 percent contained.

Currently, 584 fire personnel are focusing on containing the blaze.

There are seven helicopters working continuously to assist ground crews in the containment effort.

Four bulldozers and 10 engines, along with 13 water tenders, also are stationed at the scene.

Fire fighters have completed a fire line across the north end of the fire and are continuing to reinforce the direct fire line.

On the southeastern portion of the Rattle Complex, the fire was extremely active with high intensity surface runs and short range spotting and crowning.

On Sunday, officials indicated that the agencies' fire line construction and road access improvements were completed on West Ridge.

Crews continue to fight the blaze by constructing indirect fire lines and improving road access.

Due to the lack of resources, crews will not be stationed directly on the fire line, but the emergency personnel will watch the perimeter closely.

For public safety reasons, travelers are asked to stay off roads in Buck Canyon, Kings Wells Canyon, Indian Springs Canyon, Westwater-Hay Canyon, East Canyon and Bitter Creek Road.

In addition, the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands has closed all school trust parcels located in the Book Cliffs area.

Because of the extreme fire dangers at locations throughout the state, the United States Department of Agriculture has issued stage one fire restrictions for various locations across Utah, including the Manti La-Sal National Forest region.

Currently, the restrictions are in place for the Ferron, Price and Sanpete ranger districts.

The Moab and Monticello ranger districts are currently placed under a stage two restriction order.

A stage one restriction prohibits the use of open fire. The prohibitions established by the guidelines include the building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire in the designated restricted areas.

The stage one restriction also prohibits smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material down to mineral soil.

Several exemptions apply to the stage one restriction. The exceptions include:

•Persons with a permit exempting them from the effect of the order.

•Persons using a stove solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG sources.

•Persons conducting activities in designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.

•Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.

The stage one restriction has been placed upon areas which are facing severe fire dangers due to extremely dry conditions.

The purpose of the restriction focuses protecting public health and ensuring safety during high fire conditions.

The stage one guidelines went into effect July 8 and will remain in place until further notice.

Punishment for violating the stage one fire restriction will result in fines and the possibility of imprisonment.

To ensure that another wildfire does not break out in the local area, Carbon County citizens are expected to comply with the newly placed restriction.

In addition, Castle Valley residents are urged to exercise caution when dealing with open flames or sparks while enjoying outdoor activities.

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