Brian Head Fire expands across Highway 143

Brian Head Fire map

Above: The red line on the map represents the perimeter of the Brian Head Fire at 2:30 a.m. MDT June 25, 2017. The white line was the perimeter about 28 hours earlier.

(UPDATED at 9:28 p.m. MDT Sunday June 25, 2017)

There was only minimal growth Sunday on the Brian Head Fire east of Cedar City, Utah. The weather cooperated with firefighters who were able to work on securing firelines.

Incident Commander Tim Roide described the activity on the fire today:

It was a good day for firefighters, who were able to have success securing areas of particular concern, including the many structures affected by the Brian Head Fire.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for southwest Utah through 10 p.m Monday night.

With the weather forecast for Monday predicting southwest winds of 12 to 15 mph with gusts in the mid-20’s and humidities in the mid-teens, the Incident Management team made the decision to use dozers to build indirect contingency firelines out ahead of what could be additional growth in the Horse Valley area. Air tankers bolstered those new lines by dropping fire retardant adjacent to the dozer lines expecting that if the fire makes a run in that direction the combination of the bare dirt line and the retardant would increase their chances of preventing the fire from crossing their freshly prepared defenses.

Fire retardant is normally wet, of course, and if conditions are right with few airborne embers travelling far in advance of the main fire front, retardant can slow the spread, giving firefighters on the ground a chance to move in and take direct action. But even when it has dried, the chemicals still interfere with the process of combustion and can affect the rate of spread of the flames.

The plans for crews on Monday include continuing to secure the southern perimeter of the fire to slow its progression toward Mammoth Creek.

Kim Martin’s Type 1 Incident Management Team will assume command Monday morning of the east half of the fire. The existing Type 2 Team will remain on the West side working out of Parowan.

Evacuations are still in place for many areas. Highway 143 is closed from the cemetery in Parowan to milepost 50 outside of Panguitch and Mammoth Creek Road is closed at the junction with Highway 143.


(UPDATED at 12:24 p.m. MDT Sunday June 25, 2017)

The Brian Head Fire in southwest Utah continued to grow on Saturday, adding another 5,000 acres, to bring the total to 42,800 acres. Evacuations are still in effect for several areas.

A significant development Saturday was the spread of the fire across Highway 143 in two places burning approximately 700 acres south of the highway as of 2:30 a.m. on Sunday. No doubt the firefighters were counting on using the highway as a fireline, hoping to stop it at that point. One factor in their favor is that east of the 406/050 road and south of Highway 143 the fuel (vegetation) is sparse in many areas and is not continuous. West of that road and south of Highway 143 more fuel is available and the fire will offer more resistance to control.

Sunday morning the Incident Management Team provided some information about the spread of the fire across the highway:

Firefighters quickly responded and minimized the spread of these fires. Through the night, resources continued work on containment of these spot fires.

Brian Head Fire
In this photo of the Brian Head Fire, Yankee Meadows is at the top-right. We believe this photo was taken by the Incident Management Team.

There has been no change in the number of structures reportedly destroyed; it remains at 26.

Either on Sunday or Monday a Type 1 Incident Management Team will assume command of the eastern half of the fire. The Type 2 Team will remain in Parowan and the Type 1 Team will be based at the Triple C Arena in Panguitch. The two organizations will work together to protect the values at risk and coordinate the full suppression of the fire.

Brian Head Fire map
Satellite photo of the Brian Head Fire, June 24, 2017.

Resources assigned to the fire include 29 hand crews, 41 engines, 10 helicopters, a variable number of air tankers, and a total of 996 personnel.

Brian Head Fire Pilatus PC12 Colorado Utah
One of Colorado’s Pilatus PC12’s, N327F, was orbiting the Brian Head Fire June 25, 2016. The aircraft has multiple sensing systems and can transmit live video to firefighters on the ground.
Colorado's Pilatus PC12 N327F
One of the two Pilatus PC12’s owned by Colorado, N327F, was photographed in March of 2016 in Sacramento. Today, June 25, 2017, it is assisting at the Brian Head Fire in southwest Utah.


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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

7 thoughts on “Brian Head Fire expands across Highway 143”

  1. This guy who started this fire by a torch to burn his weeds in his yard is a criminal and should be treated like one. He needs to spend time in prison for what he has done. All the wildlife and ecosystems destroyed because of complete stupidity is unacceptable. Firefighters put their lives on the line to save these beautiful places and we appreciate them every day. Stupid must be punished!

    1. Hmmm…it was an accident! Listen to the 911 call. Similar to a car crash accidents happen and first responders come to help. He may have already called fire department to get permission to burn. Do you know all the facts prior to pointing blame? A lot of factors besides human error caused this home improvement brush burn to go from 1 acre to 50,000 acre plus forest fire.

  2. Rod.

    Protection for people you don’t even know in a unfamiliar place God bless you all for your services.

  3. God be with all firefighters and our neighbors. If there’s any other needs for displaced families let the public know.

    Cindy Shrum

  4. God Bless our firefighters, other first responders and volunteers. May God keep you safe.


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