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Coffee Pot fire creates local haze, forces road closures

Dry and windy "Red Flag" conditions last weekend caused the Coffee Pot Fire near Indianola, Sanpete County, to increase in size to 690 acres by Tuesday. This has prompted fire officials to issue additional road and trail closures to ensure public safety. The closures include the immediate area surrounding the fire as well as those areas threatened by its possible growth.

The Manti-La Sal National Forest announced Tuesday the temporary closure of the following trails and roads:

Coffee Pot Trail;

Pen Trail Lake Fork Road from the National Forest Boundary on the north, to the junction of the Lake Fork and Dairy Fork roads on the south;

Right Fork-Lake Fork Trail;

Smith Reservoir Road;

Sweat Creek Trail.

The Coffee Pot Fire is a lightning-caused fire which is being managed due to unsafe terrain for fire personnel and to improve wildlife habitat.

The closure areas will be reopened as soon as the area is deemed safe for the public.

The Coffee Pot Fire started July 17 in a remote area eight miles north of Indianola and is being managed to achieve multiple objectives, almost as a prescribed burn. These objectives include firefighter safety, forest health, and the opening of the forest canopy which will allow new growth as well as improve wildlife habitat.

Steep terrain and lack of adequate safety zones for firefighters is the primary consideration for choosing to manage the fire. Other factors include potential benefits to the forest including the removal of dead trees and a mosaic of burned areas which will lessen the severity of future fires. If the Coffee Pot Fire ceases to meet these objectives or threatens to exceed its predetermined management boundary, then appropriate suppression tactics will be implemented.

Most of the smoke currently in the area is from other fires. However, residents may expect to see smoke from the Coffee Pot Fire until the area receives significant moisture from rainfall.

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