At approximately 2 p.m. Thursday, July 12, a fire was started in Maple Canyon, in a side canyon in the lower portion of the canyon. Though still under investigation, this fire is speculated as man-caused, due to a failed attempt to incinerate toilet paper. Climbers Jarrett Hunter and Crista Hollenberg, who were fortunately in the vicinity, witnessed the on-set of the conflagration and immediately set about to alert the canyon's visitors to the fire. Fortunately, word spread up the canyon more quickly than the fire and all know recreationalists in the area were alerted and self-evaced in a rapid, yet non-panicked fashion prior to the arrival of the first emergency response vehicles. The canyon was closed to all access and all individuals were asked to leave the immediate area.
Maple Canyon Fire - Lisa Justice Hathaway
Most of the climbers and a group of young boys on a camping trip reconvened in the Fountain Green town park to await the fate of the crag and the abandoned personal gear. Thanks to fortunate favorable conditions—low winds, cooling temps, high humidity and the anticipated on-set of rain—the fire did not accelerate drastically throughout the afternoon (or through the night, though the fire has grown from 10–15 to 30 acres at last report.) Climbers with and campers who had abandoned personal gear were permitted, escorted, to retrieve their gear later in the afternoon. Kudos to the city of Fountain Green for permitting the canyon "refugees" access to the park for day and night use and for allowing those with dogs to be exempt of the no dogs/no camping rules.
The evac process was quite impressive. Hunter, Hollenberg and two other climbers swiftly got the word out and any one who got word ran up to crags known to be occupied and rallied everyone out. Though brisk, everyone behaved appropriately, drove considerately and aided those on foot to get to their vehicles and out of the canyon. There was immediate concern for the climbers at the Pipe Dream cave, but courtesy of mobile communication and social networking, the climbers were assured that not only did the Pipe Dream climbers get out of the canyon, they were amongst the first to know of the fire as it was visible from the vicinity.
Maple Canyon is officially closed until further notice, though if one has gear there, it is possible to retrieve it. Contact the Sanpete Sheriff for more information if you have gear in the canyon. For general fire info, please don't call the sheriff—their hands are quite full—rather, follow the updates on Twitter (@UtahWildfire #DizzyRockFire) or on the web at UtahFireInfo.gov.
Dizzy Rock Fire
Location: West of Wales, UT
Acres: 30 acres
Cause: Under Investigation
Fire Information: TBD
Get real-time updates on Twitter @UtahWildfire #DizzyRockFire
The fire is burning in Maple Canyon west of Wales, UT. Type 3 IC (Goodson) in command, the fire is burning in rugged terrain making access difficult for fire fighters.