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Archive for Monday, July 2, 2007

Heat, wind forecast as crews tackle wildfire

July 2, 2007

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— A wildfire that has scorched about 46 square miles in northeastern Utah and killed three people has prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people from nearby towns and forced authorities to close a national forest to the public.

The fire started Friday morning north of Neola, about 100 miles east of Salt Lake City, and on Sunday morning crews had it about 5 percent contained. The cause had not been determined.

The fire began spreading into the Ashley National Forest Sunday afternoon, prompting federal authorities to close it to public use.

In Montana, fire managers on Sunday were reducing personnel assigned to a blaze that had burned nearly 6 square miles in the Gallatin National Forest.

In California, the wildfire that destroyed at least 254 homes south of Lake Tahoe was 95 percent contained late Sunday, the U.S. Forest Service said.

Crews also battled a wildfire Sunday that had blackened more than 482 acres of brush in a rugged area of Santa Barbara County near popular campsites and swimming holes.

Fire crews north of Los Angeles had a 19-square-mile blaze 90 percent contained, state fire department spokesman Shawn Sternick said.

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