July 28, 1996 in Nation/World

Fires Keep Crews Busy Across West Utah Fights Gusts; Lack Of Wind Stalls Sierra Nevada Effort

Associated Press
 

A wind-whipped fire had charred 8,000 acres of the scenic Dixie National Forest in southwestern Utah on Saturday, more than tripling in acreage from one day earlier.

Wind gusted to 40 mph as the flames burned through tinder-dry juniper and brush in the region about 275 miles south of Salt Lake City.

“It’s laid down a bit overnight, but we’ll have some wind and stormy weather out there later that could possibly reactivate things,” said forest spokeswoman Bette Arial.

Along with the stiff wind, southern Utah has had several days of temperatures topping 100 degrees.

The fire was being held about three miles away from power lines serving Los Angeles, Arial said.

On Friday, the flames were within a quarter-mile of several cabins.

A lack of wind was the problem in the Sierra Nevada in Northern California.

Smoke hanging in still air blanketed the Plumas National Forest 50 miles northwest of Reno, Nev., cutting visibility and preventing airplanes and helicopters from bombing a 5,000-acre fire with water.

The brush and grass fire, which forced evacuation of a camp ground on Friday, was estimated at 40 percent contained.

Firefighters in western Colorado estimated they had contained 40 percent of a 5,340-acre fire in rugged canyon country.

The fire forced the shutdown last week of natural gas wells near Fruita, a town about 10 miles northwest of Grand Junction.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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