High winds Saturday night increased fire activity in Blacksmith Fork Canyon

The area highlighted in red indicates what areas have burned as of Sunday, August 18, 2013 in the Millville Fire.

HYRUM – Late Saturday evening high winds on the fire increased fire activity considerably especially at the eastern edge of the fire. However, crews and helicopter water drops were able to keep it from crossing north over the ridgetop separating the Millville Canyon and the Blacksmith Fork Canyon.

Sunday, crews continued working along the Blacksmith Fork road clearing brush and securing the line from rolling burning debris. On the ridge between Millville Canyon and Blacksmith Fork Canyon crews will continue maintaining the secured line and taking suppression actions on accessible interior fire. Helicopters will continue the bucket drops on hot spots within the unburned pockets of vegetation near the ridgeline.

Beginning Sunday, helicopters had the capability to drop retardant in addition to water which will improve their effectiveness. Retardant is of a consistency that stays on the surface of vegetation much longer. The construction of a north/south line between the ridge and the Blacksmith Fork road to stop the eastward fire progression continues. Once completed, to be effective, the line will have to be reinforced. Burnouts will be used to create a more defensible line, however they can only occur when the appropriate level of resources and favorable weather conditions occur.

Very low humidity, high temperatures, terrain driven winds along with very dry fuels continue to create extreme fire behavior conditions.

170 personnel are assigned to the fire, including six hand crews, 11 engines, and three helicopters. An additional Type 1 (Hot Shot) crew has been ordered. However, due to the number of wildfires in the western U.S. the crew has not been available.

The mandatory evacuations and road closures are still in effect. The threat to structures (approximately 167 residences) remains due to the extreme fire behavior conditions. Fire managers and agency officials are periodically monitoring conditions, however any change is not likely without a change in fire conditions.

The evacuation area begins at the mouth of Blacksmith Fork canyon. The subdivisions at the mouth of the canyon are not included within the evacuation area. The evacuation area extends east to the intersection with the Left Hand Fork road. The mandatory evacuation also includes the Left Hand Fork Canyon area beginning at the Left Hand Fork road intersection with Blacksmith Fork road and extends to the Gray Cliff springs.

The Blacksmith Fork Canyon road (Hwy 101) remains closed to all nonessential traffic beginning at the Cache National Forest entrance sign and extends east to the intersection with the Left Hand Fork road. The Left Hand Fork road is also closed to nonessential traffic. Millville Canyon remains closed.

Trails in the Left Hand Fork, Richards Hollow, Herd Hollow, and Gray Cliff springs areas are closed.

The Millville Fire started on Sunday morning, August 11, 2013 by lightning.

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