New evacuations ordered for Pack Creek Fire southeast of Moab, UT

The fire has burned more than 5,400 acres

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7:44 p.m. MDT June 13, 2021

Pack Creek Fire, June 13, 2021
Pack Creek Fire, June 13, 2021. Photo by Rick.

The Pack Creek Fire 13 miles southeast of Moab, Utah was very active Sunday afternoon, sending up a large convection column topped by pyrocumulus clouds.

The blaze moved to the northeast crossing Geyser Pass Road northwest of Mt. Mellenthin Sunday, which prompted the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office to order new evacuations. The area affected is all private property east of Geyser Pass on LaSal Mountains, from Blue Lake down through the Dark Canyon area.

3-D Pack Creek Fire 3 p.m. MDT June 13, 2021
3-D map of the Pack Creek Fire. The fire perimeter was mapped at 1:58 a.m. MDT June 13, 2021.
Map of the Pack Creek Fire
The fire perimeter of the Pack Creek Fire was mapped at 1:58 a.m. MDT June 13, 2021. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3 p.m. MDT June 13, 2021.

Sunday morning the fire was mapped at about 5,400 acres, but the growth in the afternoon will modify that number. At least 72 residences and 69 other structures are threatened.

An excessive heat warning forecast for Monday through Friday, 105° to 108° in the valley, will increase the risk of rapid fire spread. The relative humidity will be in the single digits with nighttime recovery below 20 percent.

The fire behavior forecast through Sunday night predicts that the northern flank will remain most active due to exposure to wind and receptive fuels. Torching and spotting is possible and will result in potentially significant spread. The upper elevations of the east flank will continue smoldering and creeping, however the timberline above will check significant growth.

Pack Creek Fire, June 13, 2021
Pack Creek Fire, June 13, 2021. Photo by Sara Porterfield.

The behavior of the flames in the video below is fascinating.

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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.

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