Fire crews respond to fire number 2 just hours after cleaning up the 1st one

Fire crews respond to a brush fire Monday night just hours after putting a fire at a local storage unit. The fire is the third within 24 hours – Photo taken by Tracie Sullivan – Behind the Headlines

CEDAR CITY – Fire crews were called out again Monday night just hours after putting out a fire at a local storage unit facility. This time for a brush fire that could have easily burned out of control, authorities said.

Cedar City Fire Department was dispatched at 11:35 p.m. to a fire behind J R’s Truck Stop, located at 2635 Freeway Drive. The fire burned around 1.3 acres.

The cause of the fire is unknown, Chief Mike Phillips said. However, there were several power poles that may have somehow sparked and hit the surrounding area covered in cheat grass and piles of dry tree branches and wood.

“The power poles are suspect,” he said. “We don’t know right now but it could have been that a bird flew into the power pole and caused some sparks. Those sparks could have then hit the ground and with this area being as dry as it is, it wouldn’t have taken much.”

The fire was the second of its kind Monday but the third one within a 24-hour period. Firefighters responded Sunday evening to a 5-acre wildfire in Shurtz Canyon, just south of Cedar City. Crews were able to get the blaze under control within a short time.

“Fire season has officially begun,” Phillips said, “and everything is really dry. If the last two days are any indication of what’s to come, we might be really busy the next couple of months.”

Authorities are on high alert this summer after battling the Brian Head fire that burned nearly 60,000 acres last year before firefighters were able to get it under control.

Statewide fire restrictions have already been put into effect beginning June 1:

  • No fireworks in unincorporated areas and all state and federal administered lands
  • No smoking except in an enclosed vehicle or building or a developed recreation site or areas of a minimum of 3 feet in diameter cleared down to mineral soil
  • No campfire outside designated areas including charcoal and briquettes
  • No welding in dry areas

The restricted lands include locations in Kane, Garfield, Iron, Washington and Beaver Counties.

Dixie National Forest, The National Park Service and unincorporated, privately owned and state land are also on the list. For more information on fire restrictions and maps go to Utah Wildfire Info.

Those who assisted at Monday night’s fire included: Cedar City Police, Southern Utah University Police and firefighters from the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forestry Service.

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