Wildfire near Utah ski resort forces 1500 people from homes

Mark Finney, a researcher at the U.S. Forest Service Fire Science Laboratory in Missoula, Montana, said getting rid of the dead trees in the Brian Head area probably would not have made much difference.

Most of the growth has occurred on the north end of the fire, and evacuation orders are still in place for residents of Brian Head and communities around the Bear Valley.

"It was challenging due to the fact it was far off the road, so trying to get the hose around the area- it was challenging, and it was brushy", said Franny Adams, Sierra National Forest.

It said the Department of Transportation and local utility companies were assessing damage to roads and utilities and making repairs in anticipation of residents returning to Brian Head in the near future.

Last year, a total of 1,080 wildfires burned 101,280 acres in Utah, according to a report by the Great Basin Coordination Center.

More than 16 million residents in three Western states face heat warnings or advisories as wildfires scorched 100,000 acres and temperatures sizzled over 100 degrees.

Officials say the fire now covers almost 67 square miles (174 square kilometers) and is 10 percent contained. The fire started after a single vehicle collision.

The communities of Pine Flat and Breezy Pines already have been evacuated with potential evacuations ordered for Walker, Potato Patch Campground, Mountain Pines Acres and Mount Union if the fire continues to grow, Yavapai County spokesman David McAtee said.

Brian Head fire burns and then moves on to burn some more.

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.

Firefighters are battling high winds as they fight the blaze that has spread to 184 square kilometres in southern Utah. The 14 Freeway has since reopened.

On Tuesday, Utah state Rep. Mike Noel, a Republican, said federal mismanagement and "tree-hugger" environmentalists are responsible for the massive fire near the ski town of Brian Head and a popular fishing lake.

Crews will continue to secure the southern perimeter of the fire to slow its progression toward Mammoth Creek. Mayer is located about 70 miles north of Phoenix.

The fire began Saturday afternoon, and was reported to have blazed to 50 acres and as law enforcement agencies investigate, by human cause is a possible, but not definite factor in the cause of the fire. Known as the Frye fire, the blaze burning on Mt. The fire has also burned in the Dixie National Forest. He said that one nonresidential structure had burned.

Fifteen-hundred people have been evacuated and 13 homes and eight outbuildings have been destroyed, said fire spokeswoman Elayn Briggs.

  • Joey Payne