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Scofield homes threatened by wild fire

A managed fire that has burned since June has now turned into a problem above the Scofield area because of high winds this past weekend.
A type two helicopter is larger than the standard helicopters used to carry fire retardant and water.

Sun Advocate publisher

Some residents asked to leave their homes as flames approach.

A managed fire that was started in June and was barely smouldering last week turned into a large problem for the Scofield Mountain Home subdivision over Sunday night to Monday morning.

On Sunday crews were battling the blaze but overnight strong winds came up and created spotting beyond the boundaries of the fires determined burn area and a number of full time families along with some summer residents were evacuated as a precaution.

According to Hal Stevens, the Manti LaSal National Forest duty officer for Monday Sunday nights wind event took the fire to a new level.

"Yesterday (Sunday) it was kind of rough, but by night things were looking much better," he told the Sun Advocate on Monday morning. "But overnight there were some big winds and calls started coming in that the fire was a problem."

Stevens said a few days ago the Forest Service had decided the managed fire had done its job and they went putting it out.

"I flew over the area in a helicopter and there was a little smoke in Subdivision Canyon," said Stevens.

They then began the process of extinguishing it with some ground personnel, engines and a helicopter.

But the wind started before that was finished and it began to grow as flare ups sent embers out beyond the boundaries of the prescibed burn area.

"Right now we have the incident command system in place and we have one ground crew, two wildfire engines and a helicopter battling the blaze," said Stevens. "We are presently in the process of locating on site a number of structure engines, three more hand crews and have a type two helicopter on its way to help us."

A type two helicopter is larger than the standard helicopters used to carry fire retardant and water. They were used extensively on the fire in Mathis Canyon (off Willow Creek Canyon) three years ago when that blaze was classified at the top of the priority list for a few days.

Structure fire engines are different than brush engines. They are there to protect outbuildings, residences and other man made structures.

Stevens also said a strike team with five more engines had also been ordered to help out.

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