Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

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

The brush fire quickly grew from 1,200 acres at 9:30 a massive 5,000 acres at around midnight, the Riverside County Fire Department said, adding that it had deployed more than 300 emergency workers to battle the blaze.

In Arizona, a wildfire that has charred more than 28 square miles (72 square kilometres) burned and forced the evacuation of the town of Mayer, population about 1,400, and other areas as a precaution. Crews are facing dry, windy conditions and a "high potential" for extreme fire behavior. Arizona Firefighters here had to ground aircraft because of unauthorised drones over a fire near Flagstaff. The fire is about 10 percent contained. "These guys are working their hind ends off and really are heroes", said Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins. 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.

Hundreds of firefighters have been battling the wildfire, facing 100-foot flames along with very dry conditions and winds that have been gusting up to 30 miles per hour, leaving a "high potential" for "extreme" fire behavior, officials said late Monday.

Similarly, an incident sparked a massive wildfire in California, which was when a auto in Los Angeles crashed into a tree, which sparked a fire that spread around quickly due to humidity and burnt nearly 750 acres of land in just three hours.

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

That blaze consumed almost 1.4 square miles (3.6 square kilometers) of brush and closed State Route 14.

The current blaze is burning in chaparral that has not had a fire in more than 40 years, helping fuel its growth.

One structure was destroyed by the fire and State Route 14 was closed in both directions earlier on Sunday, but traffic has since resumed, the department said.

"There's no question that our inability to manage the forests the way they should and could be managed has led to more destruction", he said.

In addition, a U.S. Forest Service researcher said logging probably would not have made a big difference in the high-altitude fire that is sending embers from tree-to-tree over long distances - normal for the ecosystem. Aerial efforts to put out a fire northwest of the town were temporarily halted.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance said the statements were misleading, and countered in a prepared statment that climate change, drought, human activity and wind all play roles.

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