Archive for Sunday, June 26, 2005

Wildfires force more evacuations in Utah

June 26, 2005

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About 200 people were evacuated from their homes Saturday as a wildfire that has burned about 40,000 acres approached the southwestern Utah community of Gunlock.

Elsewhere, firefighters continued to battle blazes in California, Arizona and Nevada that have already consumed more than 200,000 acres in recent days.

The blaze threatening Gunlock, about 260 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, was a combination of five smaller fires started by lightning on Wednesday that had joined and was expected to continue spreading.

Also Saturday, firefighters near Kelso, Calif., struggled to surround a wildfire that had burned 52,000 acres in the rugged Mojave National Preserve, which includes historic mines and sites with ancient Indian pictographs.

A brush and grass fire that has charred 60,000 acres in Arizona was about 20 percent contained Saturday after turning away from an upscale community northeast of Phoenix. Evacuees began returning home Friday.

In Nevada, a wildfire raging in the mountains southwest of the Las Vegas Strip grew to over 24,000 acres Saturday, prompting the closure of a state highway that leads to Death Valley National Park.

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