Utah homes burn as wildfires menace West

15 June, 2018, 00:34 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Entire San Juan National Forest To Be Closed To Public

By afternoon, though, officials were optimistic about their battle against the Buffalo fire, which elicited a massive response of firefighters and firefighting aircraft and was burning on about 100 acres in the White River National Forest. Winds out of the west are expected to gust to 25 miles per hour.

Authorities say a fast-moving brush fire has destroyed eight homes in the southern Utah tourist town of Moab and that more than 3,000 people in Colorado and Wyoming remain under evacuation orders because of other wildfires.

"There were big black rolling clouds coming off it and it had gotten to the edge of the forest, right next to the neighborhood", Silverthorne resident Jake Schulman told the Summit Daily.

The report said containment was not expected before the end of the month. La Plata County Manager Joanne Spina declared a state of local disaster that day as a result of the fire, which led 1,500 residents to evacuate.

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"We really just want to go home". Forests are also closed in Arizona and New Mexico in areas that are suffering from a severe drought. But the fire came within about 200 yards of a subdivision that includes condominiums, apartments and pricey homes. Another fire nearby has burned about 4 square miles (10 square kilometers). MOre than 900 firefighters were trying to control the blaze, according the AP.

Due to the extreme fire danger, the U.S. Forest Service closed the entire, almost 3,000-square-mile San Juan National Forest to the public on Tuesday. "For the fire danger, it does make sense".

Fires in New Mexico have also caused Forest Service authorities to close the Santa Fe National Forest and Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands.

Fires are raging across Colorado, keeping crews busy as they fight to protect homes from flames fueled by drought, tinder-dry air and Rocky Mountain winds.

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The so-called Badger Creek Fire began Sunday and had grown to about 11 square miles by Thursday morning.

"We don't know the cause of the fire", said Julie Sutor, a Summit County spokeswoman.

After doubling in size from Saturday to Sunday, the wildfire, 13 miles (21 km) north of the small city of Durango, grew by 32 percent to 22,131 acres (8,956 hectares) from Sunday to Monday, the team said. Officials are crediting fuel breaks in helping contain the fire, a system that has been in place since 2007.

Fire officials have been expecting a busy wildfire season after a dry winter, possibly the worst since 2012 and 2013, when the Black Forest Fire in El Paso County destroyed almost 500 homes, the most in state history.

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