The Pack Creek fire, said to have been started by an unattended camp fire, is now burning close to the Whole Enchilada trail near Moab, Utah and other trails in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. As a result, trails including Burro Pass and Hazard Pass of the Whole Enchilada, and areas including Warner Lake, Oowah Lake, Geyser Pass, La Sal Pass, and more are closed to recreational activity. Closure information can be found here.
Firefighters first responded to the fire on June 9, and it has been spreading since. In addition to the unattended fire, the Manti-La Sal National Forest says that the Pack Creek fire is a “result of drought conditions in the Manti-La Sal mountains that haven’t been seen for at least 90 years. The combination of record heat, extremely dry fuels and steep rugged terrain presents historic challenges for firefighters attempting to control the fire’s spread.”
Utah is in an extreme drought says the closure order. Fire danger in the area has been considered extreme for the past week and is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
“Pretty much, we’re trying to discourage [use] basically anywhere from that west face of the La Sal mountains. It’s still a very fluid situation and things could change really quick,” says Nick Howell, fire information officer for the Pack Creek fire.
So far, the fire has burned five structures and is threatening others in the area. According to InciWeb, the size of the Pack Creek fire is over 8,200 acres as of Monday evening. Containment was at 6% as Monday morning but Howell says they reached 16% by the evening.
Firefighters will be working along the fire’s western perimeter near Brumley Creek where fire spread hasn’t been as severe. Firefighters are also working to protect buildings and homes which are anticipated to be in the fire’s path in upper Pack Creek and north and east into the Oowah and Warner Lake basins. The fire also could move east of Geyser Pass and spread toward Blue Lake and Dark Canyon.
As mentioned above, the fire is believed to have been started by an unattended camp fire. Anyone with information about the fire should contact the tip line at 775-355-5337.