Red Flag weather conditions amplify wildfires in Utah

Posted on Categories WildfireTags

Pack Creek, Bennion Creek, and Bear Fires

Updated at 9:14 a.m. MDT June 11, 2021

3-D map Pack Creek Fire
3-D map of the Pack Creek Fire, looking east at 1:25 a.m. June 11, 2021.

The Pack Creek Fire  12 miles southeast of Moab, Utah was very active through most of the night Thursday, moving east and northeast onto the upper slopes of Mt. Mellenthin where the fuel begins to thin above the 10,000-foot level. It was mapped at 4,944 acres Friday morning at 1:25 MDT. Two structures have been destroyed.

The firefighting resources assigned Thursday evening included 3 hand crews, 15 engines, and 3 helicopters for a total of 148 personnel. A Type 2 incident management team, Great Basin Team 4, has been mobilized.

9:30 p.m. MDT June 10, 2021

Pack Creek Fire
Pack Creek Fire, from Island in the Sky cam, 8:12 p.m. MDT June 10, 2021.

Hot, dry, and windy weather caused three wildfires in Utah to spread more rapidly on Thursday.

Pack Creek Fire
The newest of the large fires is the Pack Creek Fire 12 miles southeast of Moab which has burned into the Manti-La Sal National Forest. At about 6 p.m. on Thursday Utah Fire Information reported it was about 650 acres, but as this is written at 9:30 p.m. it appears it could be well over 1,500 acres, based on heat detected by satellites. The blaze was caused by an unattended campfire. One structure has been destroyed and additional structures are threatened. Due to increasing complexity a Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered to manage the incident.

Firefighters at the Pack Creek Fire
Firefighters at the Pack Creek Fire on Highway 6. USFS photo, June 10, 2021

Bear Fire
Two fires about 35 miles southeast of Provo were very active Thursday. As of 5 p.m. Thursday firefighters have been able to keep the Bear Fire west of Highway 6 in spite of Red Flag weather conditions.

US-6 remains closed Thursday night from milepost 221 to milepost 230. A detour route along Emma Park Road and US-191 is still in place. The detour route adds about 8 miles and 12 minutes to regular travel and gives drivers access to both directions on US-6, which will remain closed overnight and into Friday morning when the closure will be reevaluated.

A shift in wind direction Thursday has pushed more smoke into Helper and Price. Fire officials understand the increased smoke is concerning, but are confident they can keep the fire from reaching Helper.

Fire officials declined to release the size of the Bear Fire, but a very rough estimate based on heat detected by satellites indicates it has burned at least 6,500 acres.

Satellite photo of Utah Fires
Satellite photo of Utah Fires, at 5:41 p.m. MDT June 10, 2021.

Bennion Creek Fire
The second fire southeast of Provo is the Bennion Creek Fire which started June 4. On Thursday an additional mandatory evacuation area was identified — Aspen Cove in Scofield. Wednesday night the fire had burned 1,471 acres, but that number grew on Thursday.

Map Bennion Creek and Bear Fires in Utah
Map showing the location of the Bennion Creek and Bear Fires in Utah, showing heat detected by satellites as late as 3:06 p.m. MDT June 10, 2021.
Pack Creek Fire map
Map showing heat detected at the Pack Creek Fire as late as 6:30 p.m. MDT June 10, 2021.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Red Flag weather conditions amplify wildfires in Utah”

  1. Thank you for your reporting. I have a relative who lives near the area and it helped me understand the location and intensity of the Pack Creek Fire.

    All updates are read with interest and greatly appreciated.

  2. The Pack Creek Fire as of 0800 June 11 has increased to 4,944 acres according to Moab Dispatch WildCAD. The size and nature of the pyrocumulus column yesterday definitely confirmed increased fire activity from my location 62 miles south of the original lat/long.


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