UPDATE: Lightning sparks wildfires in Cache Valley

<strong>MILLVILLE —</strong> A lightning storm Sunday morning sparked four wildfires on the east side of Cache Valley between Millville and Hyrum. Logan City Dispatch confirmed the fires began around 3:36 a.m. Two fires were located on the east mountainside, between Millville Canyon and Blacksmith Fork Canyon.  Throughout the day Sunday, the two fires merged into one.  It’s being called the “Millville Fire.”

The other two fires were located up Providence Canyon.  Logan City Fire Marshal, Craig Humphreys said those two fires have been extinguished.

As of 9 p.m. Monday, the fire had spread to 2200 acres.  Fire crews worked throughout the day focusing efforts in the Black Smith Fork Canyon area.  Red flag conditions existed during much of the afternoon with winds gusting between 20-25 mph.

As the fire moved south Monday, crews became concerned for the Chokecherry subdivision, at the mouth of Black Smith Fork Canyon.  Larry Lucas with the U.S. Forest Service said crews have been doing a “burn-out operation,” to protect the homes in that area.  4 engines are lighting controled fires to burn any grass and fuel around the outside of the subdivision.

Lucas said no homes have been directly threatened and the “burn-out” is just a precaution.  

The U.S. Forrest Service is now in command of fighting the fire. Lucas said the fire is currently at 10% containment.  Crews are now constructing a fire line around the perimeter of the fire.

Lucas said the south end of the fire, around Black Smith Fork Canyon, has been the most active.  The Canyon area will continue to be restricted to through traffic only. Millville Canyon also remains closed.

150 personnel are working on the fire, including five hand crews, five engines, two helicopters, and two air tankers. 

Lucas said an additional 30 personnel are expected to begin helping fight the fire, Tuesday morning.  “It’s a good thing, we can really use the help.”

The fires started on State of Utah property but have now spread into U.S. Forest Service land.

There were early reports Sunday morning that parts of the fire was moving west, which could have eventually threatened homes along the bench.  The fires later headed east up the mountainside.

Humphreys said the main goal that fire fighters had on Sunday was to keep the fire from jumping Millville Canyon and spreading north. 

Crews were dispatched to the fire Sunday morning at 3:39 a.m.  Humphreys said crews could only watch and monitor the fire until sunrise.  “It’s too dangerous to have crews hiking in that terrain, in the dark.”

Crews from Hyrum, Wellsville, Paradise, Mendon, Logan, North Logan, Smithfield, Newton, Richmond, Lewiston and Cache County Fire District helped in fighting the fire on Sunday.  Ground crews, helicopters, Air Attack planes and a Blackhawk helicopter from the Utah National Guard also assisted in attacking and containing the fire. 

Crews are using Millville Park near the mouth of Millville Canyon as their command center.  Tents have been set up for crews who will be camping at the park until the fire is contained.

Cache County Fire Marshall Jason Winn said the fires are burning high on the mountainside in difficult terrain to navigate. The fires are currently burning on state land and no structures have been threatened.

The last couple of days have been busy for local fire personnel, said Winn. Cache County has seen wildland fires start in the Baxter Sawmill area, Blind Hollow area, and Tony Grove area.

No structures have been threatened by the Millville Fire and no injuries to firefighters were reported.

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