Four people arrested as Utah's Halfway Hill Fire grows to 10,400 acres
The Halfway Hill Fire in southern Utah grew to more than 10,400 acres and remained at 0% containment as of Tuesday morning after four people were arrested and accused of starting it by abandoning an out-of-control campfire.
The fire sent a huge column of smoke up over the area late Monday as it burned into pockets of dead trees and other heavy fuels near the Chalk Creek and Pistol Creek campgrounds in the mountains southeast of Fillmore. It grew by about 300 acres over the course of the day, according to fire managers with the Utah Interagency Fire group.
Hot and dry conditions were expected to continue throughout the week, with isolated thunderstorms threatening to bring gusty winds with them.
The Halfway Hill Fire Near Fillmore Utah is now 10,141 acres. Evacuations are still in effect for close by communities. Fire behavior has moderated some but temps remains very high. #utah #wildfire #halfwayhillfire #ut #slc #fire pic.twitter.com/D2Hi7SIGMj
— TheHotshotWakeUp (@HotshotWake) July 11, 2022
"Crews made progress strengthening and digging direct line on the western side of the fire," according to an update from the UIF. "Fire operations specialists are assessing options such as existing roads, ridges and previous burns to contain the human-caused wildfire."
Residents in the Virginia Hills subdivision were still under evacuation, with fire managers and the Millard Count Sheriff's Office waiting to determine a good time to reopen the area.
Four people have been arrested in connection to the fire, accused of starting it with a campfire on Friday. The men "left abruptly" after attempting unsuccessfully to extinguish the blaze, and then failed to report it to fire officials, according to arresting documents, which indicated the suspects were only found after witnesses alerted fire officials.
The suspects admitted when interviewed that they were "concerned that their fire may have been the cause," but still did not contact authorities, according to the arresting documents, which were filed in 4th District Court.
The four were each charged with abandoning a fire that had caused at least $1,000 in damages.
As of early Tuesday, the fire had not destroyed any buildings or caused any known injuries but had cost nearly $1 million to fight. There were more than 330 firefighters assigned to the fire, along with 12 fire engines and five helicopters, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
David DeMille is the content strategist and editor for The Spectrum & Daily News, a USA TODAY Network newsroom based in southern Utah. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.
This article originally appeared on St. George Spectrum & Daily News: Four people arrested as the Halfway Hill Fire grows to 10,400 acres