Officials warn residents to be mindful as southern Utah enters wildfire season

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ST. GEORGE, Utah -- A wildfire that burnt through several acres in St. George on Sunday is the first of the official wildfire season. It also has state fire directors in southern Utah warning residents to watch their sparks.

The black and white smoke pillars could be seen for miles around as the blaze burned through the Virgin River bed. No buildings were immediately threatened, but reminded residents to be mindful of wildfires.

“When we have these dry cold fronts and we have the increased wind, along with the low relative humidity, and the increased temperatures, those kinds of events are really going to be the ones that have the chance of hurting us,” said Utah State Division of Forestry, Fire and Public Lands fire management officer Mike Melton.

Firefighters contained the river bed fire to the area surrounding the river, but the thick, dry vegetation fueled those flames.

Melton said going into this fire season, we’re about average as far as plant moisture goes -- all it takes is one spark to trigger a flame.

“Escaped camp fires, we’ve had a couple of incidents of illegal burning, which have caused wildfires,” Melton said. “We’ve also seen children playing with fire.”

The cause of Sunday’s fire is still under investigation, but it makes close to 50 already this year in southwest Utah, the majority of which were human caused.

Red Flag warnings continue throughout the state and much of the southwestern United States.

More information on preventing wildfires can be found on the states fire website, www.utahfireinfo.gov.