Tuesday, 17 October, 2017

Wind fans the flames of Utah fire that has burned 13 homes

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Alfredo Watts | 29 June, 2017, 07:29

Officials said the wildfire made a run toward the Indian Hollow area late Tuesday.

Ducey said his office is receiving constant updates from state fire officials.

More than 100 residents were forced to evacuate their Santa Clarita homes Tuesday when a blaze threatened 80 homes in the Southern California town.

At Brian Head Resort, officials are hoping that hot spots near where the blaze started will calm down enough to allow officials to lift the evacuations in time for 4th of July festivities that usually bring an estimated 15,000 people to listen to music and watch fireworks, resort spokesman Mark Wilder said.

Steve Bloch, legal director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said Noel's assertion is an over-simplification of wildfires that are the result of fire suppression, climate change, drought and unpredictable winds. Crews are facing dry, windy conditions and a "high potential" for extreme fire behavior.

In California, a wildfire destroyed the home of "Big Bang Theory" star Johnny Galecki on a ranch in the San Luis Obispo area.

In an effort to get ahead of the flames, firefighters are carving out a containment line on a steep hill as planes drop fire retardant. Several small communities have been warned to be ready to evacuate.

The fire near the small city of Prescott was fanned by 35 mph (56 kph) winds and has charred more than 28 square miles (73 square kilometers).

The blaze broke out late Monday afternoon and quickly grew to almost 2 square miles (5 sq. kilometers), the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

Authorities say the Utah fire was started on June 17 by someone using a torch tool to burn weeds on private land.

"It's burning in an area that hasn't seen fire for 40 years", said Tiffany Davila, spokeswoman for the ‎Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

About 1,500 people have been evacuated from the Bear Valley area and the American Red Cross is providing shelter and aid to those evacuees at Panguitch High School in Parowan.

The Arizona fire forced the evacuation of the northern Arizona town of Mayer along with several other mountain communities in the area, and one of the main roads into nearby Prescott was closed.

Utah state Rep. Mike Noel said Tuesday he wants to use the fire near the ski town of Brian Head and a popular fishing lake to highlight the imbalance of power afforded environmental groups under previous presidents and to ease bureaucratic and legal blockades for logging companies.

In California, crews were making gains against two new fires that spread quickly.Firefighters in Idaho battled five lightning-sparked wildfires burning in grass and brush. Another wildfire in Arizona forced the evacuation of a town with about 1,400 residents.

The heat in the West and Southwest is blamed for the deaths of two people in California, and it could have been a factor in the deaths of two hikers whose bodies were found in New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns National Park.