Utah Wildfire Levels 13 Homes, Forces Evacuation Of 1500 People

Posted June 30, 2017

The Latest on a major wildfire burning in Utah and others burning across the U.S. West.

Firefighters in California and Arizona have managed to maintain smaller wildfires that broke out in various areas recently. The Utah fire began near the ski resort town of Brian Head, which is known as a weekend getaway destination for Las Vegas residents. The blaze has since spread about 20 miles east, near Panguitch Lake, according to the Associated Press.

The Brian Head Fire has already charred some 46,000 acres, and right now, it's only nine percent contained.

Fire managers say they are starting to get a handle on the blaze close to a highway that's been closed for days, and are working toward reopening it.

The fire was caused by human activity, officials said. That amount could increase if the blaze progresses.

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The fire was started June 17 by a resident burning weeds and has been fueled by hot, dry conditions and strong winds.

Crews managed to carve containment lines around just 10 percent of the fire's perimeter, officials said.

"Not only do our hearts go out to those who have been displaced, but our attention and resources are focused heavily on containing the fire and protecting property and lives", he said".

In more than a week of burning, the fire has burned itself onto the Dixie National Forest and Color Country District Bureau of Land Management, said a news release from Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands.

The Brian Head Fire has burned more than 48,000 acres and prompted the evacuation of 1,500 people from hundreds of homes and cabins. Two people were taken to hospital after the crash.

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"Aerial resources will be utilized today", according to a Brian Head Fire Department statement.

Chad Hanson, co-founder the John Muir Project, co-authored a 2009 study that was one of the first to dispute the theory that bug-infested trees burn faster. The fire started on Saturday and fire officials are still investigating what ignited it.

In New Mexico, Governor Susana Martinez ordered flags to fly at half-mast in honour of a volunteer firefighter who died from injuries suffered while battling a brush fire in eastern New Mexico last week.

A 400-acre (162-hectare) fire in Mariposa County on the western Sierra foothills is 10 percent surrounded.

Residents and visitors returning to the burned areas will likely see smoke coming from the interior of the fire where heavily timbered areas may continue to smolder.

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