Kane County Emergency Services reported that on Tuesday, June 21, the Incident Management Team managing the Left Fork Fire on the border of Kane County and Garfield County near Hatch, Utah, initiated an evacuation order for residents in the Bryce Woodlands area.
Due to increased wind and fire behavior, the fire has crossed the fire lines in the southwest corner. Fire managers made the recommendation as a precaution for both firefighters and public safety.
Kane County Deputies proceeded to contact residents going door-to- door notifying them of the evacuation order and helping them evacuate.
Though the winds shifted later during the day more northward, making a push towards the Blubber Creek drainage and decreased the immediate threat to the community, the evacuations will remain in place for the time being, until fire managers and the Sheriff feel the threat to the community is gone.
It is estimated that undetected smoldering material on or under the ground, such as stumps, duff or tree roots, must have continued burning for weeks after an earlier prescribed fire, and later after the spread of the 97- acre wildfire was stopped.
Follow up monitoring of both events either did not occur or was inadequate to detect the still burning fires.
The strong winds on June 18 may have fanned it back into an active burning condition, and it spread across a fire line, or hot embers were blown outside the perimeter into receptive fuels. The winds shifted the fire in a southwest direction drawing smoke clouds which could be seen in Kanab and causing the hazy sky in parts of Kane County.