Firefighters in Utah have 'good day'

Brandon Whitworth Deseret News        The wildfire burning near Brian Head continues to grow on Wednesday
Brandon Whitworth Deseret News The wildfire burning near Brian Head continues to grow on Wednesday
Author

30 June, 2017

The fire has forced more than 1,500 people from their homes and cabins in southern Utah, according to the Associated Press. Are there fires burning anywhere else? Yes.

Many parts of western United States have been struggling with heatwaves over recent days.

The Brian Head Fire began on lands administered by Brian Head Town, Iron County, in cooperation with Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands.

There was some good news: residents of the ski resort town of Brian Head.

Officials say the fire now covers almost 67 square miles (174 square kilometers) and is 10 percent contained.

Noel alleges that logging could have cleaned up dead, bug-infested trees that have fueled the so-called Brian Head fire; a conservation group said his accusations are "shameful" and misleading and don't take into account climate change and drought. The freeway has reopened and the fire is 57 percent under control, he said on Monday afternoon.

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Officials say firefighters on Sunday put in barriers against the flames and air tankers dropped fire retardant in anticipation of winds coming in from the southwest on Monday.

And in Idaho, fire officials say quick responses by ranchers and others to more than 20 wildfires sparked by lightning have kept the small fires from becoming major blazes like those that scorched the region in recent decades.

The fire broke out in the early afternoon after a traffic collision caused a tree to catch fire, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. No injuries were reported and more than a dozen residential buildings were damaged. The wildfire has already forced an evacuation of over 1,500 people, according to local broadcaster KUTV.

An evacuation warning - not a mandatory order - was issued Monday evening for homes between Highland Home Road south of Beaumont and Highway 243 south of Banning, and included the San Jacinto Mountain communities of Silent Valley and Poppet Flats, fire officials said.

The calmer winds will help firefighters to contain the burn that is now more than 58,000 acres and 15 percent contained. While the cause of many of these fires is still under investigation, firefighters said a significant amount of them are man-made and could have been prevented. In all, 1,400 people are battling the blaze, including some volunteers from Nevada. Mayer is located about 70 miles north of Phoenix. The Dixie National Forest also has closed all forest lands north of Highway 14.

Smoke visible in Routt County Tuesday can be attributed to the Brian Head Fire in southwestern Utah, according to Kevin Thompson, Routt County National Forest fire management officer. About half of those are deployed to other areas at any one time during the summer, he said.


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