Firefighters have gained the upper hand on Utah brush and range fires that have charred a total of 4,650 acres, including 850 acres in Zion National Park, authorities said.
Crews declared the Zion blaze, which burned through scrub oak, manzanita and ponderosa pine for more than two weeks, contained at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, said Park Superintendent Harry Grafe."We have a total line around that fire now," he said. "We'll keep crews there during the night (but) things are quieting down for us."
Up to 200 firefighters had fought the lightning-caused fire, but many had been placed on standby Thursday after completing fire lines and dousing hot spots, he said. The fire was expected to be declared controlled sometime today.
A 3,500-acre fire of unknown cause that broke out late Wednesday on Bureau of Land Management and private land about three miles north of Beryl, Iron County, near the Nevada border was declared controlled as of 6 p.m. Thursday, said spokesman Eulail Pickering.
The blaze charred sagebrush on the flats and pinion and juniper on foothills, she said. No injuries or property damage were reported.
Pickering said a 75-acre fire caused by fireworks near La Verkin, Washington County, was quickly controlled Wednesday.
A fire in Echo Canyon, about 10 miles northeast of Coalville, Summit County, jumped fire lines late Thursday and was estimated at 400 to 600 acres.
Pete Hansen of the Interagency Fire Center said the blaze was whipped by afternoon winds. Officials expected to make an estimate of containment time following an assessment today.
The Zion fire began June 19 and was allowed to burn in a small "conditional area" in accordance with park policy allowing natural fires to take their course, said Chief Ranger Bob Andrew.
On Sunday, however, winds gusting to 60 mph fanned the flames out of the conditional area and fire crews were brought in, he said.
No injuries or property damage were reported in the fire, burning in mountainous terrain about 11/2 miles southeast of Lava Point near the West Rim Trail, Andrews said.
Grafe said the fire served a positive purpose by burning off dense undergrowth that has accumulated over several decades, reducing the chances of more catastrophic fires later on.