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Officials blame Brian Head fire for southern Utah water polluted with ash and E. coli

Water pollution in southern Utah. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Trouble in Panguitch, Utah after the town's water system was wiped out from the Brian Head Fire and on top of that the local springs have tested positive for E. Coli.

Garfield County officials tell 2News that the recent 72,000-acre fire is to blame for this diseased water as well.

Leland Pollock, Garfield County Commissioner said in an interview Tuesday that the E. Coli has been contained and there have been no reports of human illness.

Pollock continued to explain their bigger fear right now, the decimation of their water sources in the town. So far three of their larger bodies of water that surround the town are considered dead or nearly dead because of all the contamination, leaves, ash, animal feces that’s run off of the Brain Head fire scar.

“That's the Panguitch water shed. It's been destroyed by the fire,” Pollock said the three bodies of water that they have basically lost are Red Creek Reservoir, Yankee Reservoir and Panquitch Lake.

"There's fish dying...in fact one of them it's been reported there's no fish alive at all.” Pollock said.

Pollock said county commissioners tried to warn the Dixie National Forest of this potential risk to their water for years but nothing was done.

"The reason we are suffering with this is negligence. They should have cleaned up that area and made a fire break around it years ago,” Pollock said.

The people of Panguitch have drinking water thanks to three large reserve water tanks and a well system that holds about 1.5 million gallons but the fear is that it will also run low if they don’t conserve.

Residents have been limited to outside watering for the time being due to this problem

To hear from residents about how they are dealing with the water shortage and the discovery of E. Coli in their springs watch the news story above.

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