In the early morning hours of October 17, 2016, a wildfire erupted out of control in the Shurtz Canyon area of Iron County. This fire was driven by strong winds, low humidity and very dry conditions for this time of year. This wildland fire, later known as the Hicks Creek Fire, burned over 1000 acres in a very short period of time that morning. This fire was very visible to the citizens of Iron County for several days.
I was called out from home early in the morning on the 17th because of the potential evacuations and unpredictability this fire was presenting. What I witnessed that morning was something to be proud of. I first witnessed several Iron County Sheriff’s Deputies respond to the area and start warning home owners in the fire path to get prepared and ready to evacuate. I am very proud of the way they took control of this situation. Next, the Cedar City Fire Department responded to the area with numerous firefighters and began to create fire breaks around some of the homes that were in immediate danger; they worked very hard to help save lives and property that day, and in the several days following. I was very impressed with the Cedar City Fire Department and their diligence through this fire.
I then witnessed several members of the Color County Interagency Fire Center respond to the scene and begin to pull together the numerous and extensive resources needed to fight this wildland fire. This fire presented a unique problem for them because the fire season had all but passed for Iron County this year, so most of the local resources had been relocated to other areas. What I witnessed was a team of very professional, dedicated and efficient wildland fire personnel pull people, equipment and aircraft together in very short order to attack this fire. I was amazed and impressed with how quickly they began to take control of this fire and prevent it from spreading to the southern boundaries of Cedar City and all of Cedar Highlands. They put in very long hours and did an amazing job of keeping the public informed on their firefighting efforts.
I also want to mention and thank the Iron County Sheriff’s Office VIPS, Iron County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue and Cedar City Police Department for helping with road closures during this fire; we could not do it without the assistance of our valued volunteers and partner Law Enforcement Agencies. In closing, it should be a good feeling for everyone who lives in Iron County to know that we have such dedicated and professional people living right here amongst us that respond to these situations and put it all on the line to keep our communities safe. Good job, Firefighters, Deputies, Officers and Volunteers!
Sheriff Mark O. GowerShare