Crews scrambled Wednesday to complete containment lines around the last of Utah's major wildfires, even as they braced for the return of hot, dry weather and increased fire danger after a spate of thunderstorms and rain showers.
The lightning-caused Dallas Canyon Wildfire was 90 percent contained by Wednesday night. Fire Information Officer Cami Lee said the 43,610-acre blaze was well in hand. The fire has been burning mostly in the Cedar Mountain Wilderness Area 10 miles southwest of the east Tooele County community of Delle since being sparked by lightning on July 27.
Lee said Wednesday night that on Thursday crews will be mopping up the area for hot spots and doing rehab. She hopes crews will have the fire completely controlled by this weekend. Initial fears for the safety of sensitive populations of sage grouse, wild burros and horses, and pronghorn antelope as well as nesting grounds for raptors within the wilderness area had abated as the fire's life neared its end. Wild horses had been spotted running free and unharmed on Tuesday.
About 360 firefighters, aided by water-dumping helicopters, worked to close remaining containment lines around the Dallas Canyon blaze. Flames had consumed mostly grass and brush, along with some swatches of pinyon and juniper.
Meanwhile, crews had declared full containment of two other likely lightning-sparked wildfires: the Ibapah Fire, which scorched 1,800 acres along the Utah-Nevada border near the west Tooele County desert town of Ibapah, and the 200-acre Slate Jack Fire, four miles northeast of Eureka.