Smoke filled the Carbon County area on Tuesday afternoon, just enough and in the right direction that it appeared a fire had started somewhere east of the Wasatch Plateau near or north of Hiawatha.
However, the smoke wasn't from a local fire, but from one burning in the Fishlake National Forest area. Known as the Twitchell Canyon Fire, it is now 10,973 acres and is 23 percent contained. The fire became quite active Monday afternoon in the Line and Trail Canyons, southwest of Richfield and east of Beaver, producing a large smoke column but it did not exceed the present containment lines.
However, fire officials at the Moab Interagency Fire Center were concerned that an undetected fire may have started in the area along the mountains in Carbon-Emery Counties so some observers were sent out to look for blazes. No new fires were found on Tuesday evening after the smoke began to appear in the area.
The Incident Management Team which is handling the Twitchell fire expects to transition the fire responsibilities back to the Fishlake National Forest later this week. Three hot shot crews, three helicopters and three fire engines are still assigned to the fire. These resources are holding established lines and monitoring fire activity while remaining available to take necessary action on fire spread on any portion of the fire that may pose a threat to the associated private property.
There are other fires burning in the area too. A small blaze called the Coffee Pot fire is burning southeast of Payson, another is burning on the Colorado border east of Desolation Canyon (the August Canyon Fire) and another small fire is burning (75 acres) directly east of Price in the Book Cliffs area. This fire is known as the Nelson Fire.
One other fire that could cause some smoke in the area when the south winds blow is a fire burning northeast of Panguitch, known as the Little Jake Fire. It has consumed a little less than 600 acres.
While temperatures have dropped in the area, humidity has also gone down which creates some very dangerous fire conditions. Everyone is asked to be careful with open flames or sparks that could eminate from mechanical equipment in the area.
This has been a slow year for Utah in terms of wildfires, with no major fires taking place. However, the fire season is not over, despite the fact that fall is very near, and officials ask everyone to remain vigilant about the use of fire when recreating.