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Crews battle heat, dry conditions as they hem in Utah wildfires

Published July 22, 2013 12:11 pm

Lightning sparked • Thunderstorms mixed blessing for parched high deserts, forests.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Crews were optimistic on Monday as they closed containment lines around new wildfires sparked by lightning in Utah's tinder-dry high deserts forests over the weekend.

The 2,700-acre Playground Fire, burning in juniper, sagebrush, grass and pinyon pine about 15 miles south of the northwestern Utah town of Rosette, was 100 percent contained Tuesday evening, fire information officer Teresa Rigby said.

About 150 firefighters, aided by water-bearing helicopters, focused on completing lines around a blaze that was "less active" overnight and primarily limited to "isolated [tree] torching [and] smoldering" activity within a rugged and steep area of Bureau of Land Management acreage, she said.

No injuries or structure losses had been reported in the Playground Fire, though flames earlier had threatened one cabin and an out-building.

However, Rigby said another lightning-caused blaze, dubbed the Rocky Fire, had burned about 430 acres just northwest of the Playground Fire. She said they the two fires may end up merging, but the overall impact of that was not considered serious.

"We're mopping up and making good progress," Rigby said.

The fire was 65 percent contained Monday night, and crews expected full containment on Tuesday.

The Sanpete County Sheriff's Office had issued a voluntary evacuation advisory for residents of the Pine Mountain subdivision Sunday night because of the Aspen Springs Fire, but that was rescinded about 4 p.m. Monday.

The 37-acre blaze had burned toward some 50 homes about 2 miles east of Spring City on Sunday. Fire Information Officer Adam Solt said crews were working to cut fire lines around the blaze, which was 50 percent contained as of Monday; full containment was expected on Wednesday.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims