Utah wildfire levels 13 homes, forces evacuation of 1500 people


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. Although about 175 people who live near Panguitch Lake were allowed to briefly return to their homes Sunday. High winds and intense dry temperatures are making it more likely that officials will see extreme fire behavior in the days ahead.

Firefighters on Wednesday will continue to protect structures in the Panguitch Lake, Dry Lakes and and Blue Springs area. Fox News is reporting that Utah forestry officials' Wildland Fire Prevention and Education team says preliminary statistics to date for wildfires in Utah indicate human activities were responsible for approximately 91 percent of the wildfires in 2017 which have already burned approximately 73,000 acres.

The fire erupted on June 17 near the ski resort of Brian Head, Utah, about 30 miles northeast of Zion National Park, and spread quickly as high winds drove flames into dense forests, threatening homes in nearby communities.

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"Things change day to day", Mr Wilder said. Crews were expected to strengthen the containment line on the south end of the fire.

Meanwhile, a firefighters made gains against a wildfire in California's Central Coast region that forced about 250 people to evacuate from their homes.

Another California wildfire, sparked by a traffic accident on a remote stretch of a highway 80 miles east of Los Angeles, grew to more than nine square miles (23 sq. kilometers) in hot and windy conditions.

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However, an emergency alert sent over cell phones late Monday telling people to "evacuate now" caused confusion as it didn't give a location for the evacuation order and according to social media, appeared to have been sent to some living as far away as Victorville, several miles from the blaze. The blaze was 20 percent contained at midday Tuesday. Two people were taken to the hospital with unknown injuries, officials said.

Aircraft and more than 100 firefighters are battling the blaze.

CAL FIRE said on June 22 that firefighters have responded to 1,878 wildfires, burning over 19,000 acres, since January 1, representing a threefold increase compared with the same time past year.

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Nara Visa Fire Chief Gary Girard told The Eastern New Mexico News that John Cammack was severely burned after falling from a fire engine when the winds shifted and the flames changed direction.