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


"A significant area of thin density smoke attributed to a number of wildfires over the Western and Southwestern United States could be seen this morning stretching from Wyoming southward over a good portion of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico".

By Tuesday evening, more than 1,600 firefighters were assigned to the conflagration, backed by an aerial force of 13 water-dropping helicopters.

Instead, fire crews used a power bulldozer to dig a trench that stopped the fire's advance. He said the next 24 hours will be critical and that the state will provide whatever support is necessary. The fire started on Saturday and fire officials are still investigating what ignited it.

Utah Fire Info tweeted Wednesday that 276 of 303 wildfires sparked in the the state this year have been human-caused, and urged people to avoid using any objects that can spark a wildfire near dry vegitation. About 250 residents were ordered from their homes in the area of Santa Margarita after the blaze erupted Monday, but on Tuesday night they were told they could return home.

Nicole Perna, a spokeswoman actor Johnny Galecki, confirmed his home on a ranch was destroyed by a blaze in rural San Luis Obispo County.

Pam Baker, who lives next door in the northern Arizona town southeast of Prescott, wet the thick brown grass around her home but resisted leaving. Winds made conditions more risky for some 500 firefighters assigned to the inferno, and the blaze was just 1 percent contained on Tuesday night. Several wildfires in the West are contributing to smoky conditions throughout Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, according to NOAA. Firefighters are battling high winds as they fight the blaze that has spread to 184 square kilometres in southern Utah.

As for the wildfires in California, about 10 percent of the blaze scorching up Riverside County-80 miles from Los Angeles-has been contained, according to local reports. The fire has burned more than 82 square miles and remains 10 percent contained. It has spread several miles east to an area around Panguitch Lake, a popular spot for fishing.

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.

Evacuation warnings remain in effect for a few small communities.

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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). One of the main roads into Prescott was closed. Mayer has about 1,400 residents.

Many residents have painful memories of the 2013 wildfire that killed 19 members of an elite firefighting crew.

Firefighters braced Wednesday for more high winds as they try to slow stubborn wildfires burning in Arizona, Utah and California. Another wildfire in Arizona forced the evacuation of a town with about 1,400 residents.

The fire, the country's largest active blaze, started near the ski town of Brian Head on June 17.

Officials say the fire erupted June 17 by someone using a weed-burning torch.

Crews dealt with windy conditions as they battled a northern Arizona wildfire that has burned almost 7 square miles (18 square kilometers).

The fire broke out Monday afternoon and quickly grew to 500 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Sizzling heat is exacerbating the fire risks out West, where tired crews have been battling blazes in Utah, Nevada, Oregon and California.