Southern Utah News Articles
Cathedral Fire burning in Zion National Park
The Cathedral Fire, currently burning in Zion National Park, was started by lightning from a thunderstorm that passed through the area on the evening of July 9. It was first reported early Saturday morning, July 11. The fire is located on Cathedral Mountain, just to the west of Angels Landing, on a mesa top with difficult access.
There was little activity on the fire Monday night. It is now estimated at 51 acres. Fire behavior is moderate, with creeping and smoldering and occasional torching of trees. Embers from the fire have rolled off the mesa top onto the north and east sides of Cathedral Mountain. The east side is showing no fire activity and the north side remains active in an isolated timber stand.
Due to its location, and access and egress issues, it is not safe to put firefighters near the fire. The fire is not threatening any park resources at this time. It is currently being monitored by park firefighters. Flames and smoke may be visible from the very popular Angels Landing Trail located nearby and from other points in the park.
Fire is a natural and important component of the Zion National Park ecosystem and a regular occurrence on isolated mesa tops like Cathedral Mountain. Park officials believe that, as fire both restores the health of this fire dependent ecosystem and reduces the risk of future catastrophic wildfires, it is vital to the Zion National Park landscape. As long as there are no direct threats to visitor safety or park resources, it will be allowed to play its natural role.
The lower section of the West Rim Trail, including the trail to Angels Landing, has been reopened. The trail was closed late Saturday afternnoon due to debis from the fire falling down into Refrigerator Canyon. Hikers should use caution along the West Rim Trail in the vicinity of Refrigerator Canyon and be aware that debris from the fire may still fall down from the mesa top. Visitors are asked not to linger in this area.