Wildfire threatening homes in Washington County; evacuations ordered

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah – About 100 homes were evacuated in the Lloyd’s Canyon area of Pine Valley for the Saddle Fire in Washington County, Monday morning.

Officials told residents to leave now; the evacuations are mandatory.

At about 4:30 p.m., authorities say, about 185 structures were contacted and search and rescue personnel evacuated 35 people.

Some residents were allowed to gather belongings once they signed in and out. Residents were notified via Citizen Alert Notification System and door-to-door contact was made by fire and Washington County Search and Rescue volunteers.

Other areas in Pine Valley are under voluntary evacuation orders.

Residents are encouraged to register their cellphones at Washington County’s Emergency Alert system because emergency personnel is having difficulty reaching people whose primary phone is a cellphone.

The U.S. Forest Service staff has also evacuated the campground. It is unknown how many people were escorted out.

A reception center is set up at the Veyo Fire Station at 55 E. Center St. in Veyo.

The Saddle Fire has also closed trails and roads in the area.

Officials said drones flying over the fire grounded crews’ efforts to contain the blaze, allowing it to spread towards Pine Valley.

Fire officials said all non-motorized trails leading into the Pine Valley Wilderness Area are closed.

Motorized roads leading to Pine Valley including the Mahogany Bench Road, Pine Valley Road #035 and the road south of Pinto, Road #011, will have closures in place.

Baker Reservoir is also closed.

According to UtahFireInfo.gov, lightning sparked the blaze June 13 and it has consumed more than 300 acres so far.

Authorities are offering a $1,000 reward information leading to the conviction of anyone operating a drone in the fire area.