Firefighters in Utah have 'good day'

Map depicts the extent of the Brian Head fire as of 1:21 p.m. MST

Map depicts the extent of the Brian Head fire as of 1:21 p.m. MST

That heat, plus high winds, helped Mother Nature get the upper hand in two large fires burning in Utah and Arizona. The Spectrum reports while the outlook for the resort area of Brian Head is improving, gusty winds are pushing the fire in a northwestern direction. The blaze has since spread about 20 miles east, near Panguitch Lake, according to the Associated Press.

The blaze was sparked Monday afternoon by a traffic collision with fire, RCFD said.

Fire operations spokesperson Erin Darboven said, "We had a lot of calls from the public about what the fire is doing to the area and it's still very, very active".

Hundreds of people forced from their homes by a southern Utah wildfire are expected to be allowed back to a ski town even as the northeast side of the stubborn blaze continues to grow. That amount could increase if the blaze progresses.

Authorities say the fire was started on June 17 by someone using a torch tool to burn weeds on private land. Officials told the AP they had a suspect in mind, but no information on the person's identity or potential charges had been released as of Tuesday afternoon. The blaze, which is being battled by about 1,000 firefighters, covers almost 67 square miles (174 square kilometers) and is 10 percent contained. Winds made conditions more unsafe for some 500 firefighters assigned to the inferno, and the blaze was just 1 percent contained on Tuesday night.

Area residents do not need to call the Forest Service Office about the smoke unless they can see the base of a fire, Thompson said.

State Sen. Evan Vickers (R-Cedar City) said the Brian Head fire has caused anxiety locally because of the lost cabins and lost memories, as well as the safety of firefighters like his son-in-law. Officials had been anxious the winds would push the fire to the northwest.

"Aerial resources will be utilized today", according to a Brian Head Fire Department statement.

Flags are flying at half-mast in New Mexico in honour of a volunteer firefighter who died after being injured while battling a brush fire in eastern New Mexico last week.

Two people were hospitalized in the solo-vehicle crash and subsequent auto fire that caused the wildfire on Monday afternoon. So far, no structures have been burned.

The estimated firefighting costs now top 7 million U.S. dollars (£5.5 million) for a fire which started on June 17 near the Brian Head Resort by someone using a torch tool to burn weeds, they said.

There is a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) in place over the fire area.

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