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


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

Firefighters in Southern California were battling a fast-moving wildfire on Sunday that closed a highway and forced residents from their homes around the area of Santa Clarita, a city north of Los Angeles, authorities said.

The Utah forestry agency on Tuesday said high temperatures, low humidity and winds are expected to continue through the week, which will produce "extreme fire behavior with crowning, long-range spotting and group torching".

About 175 people have been briefly allowed back to their homes near Panguitch Lake since Sunday under escort, said Denise Dastrup with the Garfield County Sheriff's Office.

In a press release, the Wildland Fire Prevention and Education team says, "preliminary statistics to date for wildfire occurrence in Utah indicate human activities are responsible for approximately 91 percent of wildfires in 2017 which have burned approximately 73,000 acres".

The fire, the country's largest active blaze, started near the ski town of Brian Head on June 17. It has spread several miles east to an area around Panguitch Lake, a popular spot for fishing. The trees died years ago, making irrelevant a 2011 U.S. Forest Service study that found the needles of beetle-killed trees ignite three times faster and burn more intensely than healthy trees.

Evacuation orders have been lifted and residents are returning after a wildfire on California's Central Coast.

Winds gusted up to 30 miles per hour Monday and spread the fire on the northern end, dropping the containment of the fire to 9 percent.

State fire officials say the blaze has grown to 125 acres and there's zero containment.

"Things change day-to-day", Wilder said.

The Arizona wildfire charred more than 28 square miles (73 square kilometers) and forced the evacuation of the town of Mayer and other areas as a precaution.

Another large blaze in Arizona dubbed the Frye Fire has charred almost 40,000 acres since it was sparked by lightning on June 7 near Mount Graham, but it was more than 40 percent contained by Tuesday, authorities said.

Firefighters made progress limiting the fire's spread on its northwest side, where timber gave way to stubbier sage and grass, and they set off a controlled fire nearby to set the perimeter.

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. Another drone was spotted on Sunday, and it, too, halted aerial firefighting efforts.