Crews hem in Utah wildfires, hope storms will bring needed rain
Firefighters scrambled to tame lightning-caused blazes on remote, rugged high desert and forest terrain on Friday, hoping that a new round of thunderstorms will bring more rain than it does new fire-igniting bolts.
The largest of the active wildfires was eastern Utah's 438-acre Sinbad Fire, which was burning hard-to-access brush and timber in steep terrain 30 miles east of Moab.
"We had some moisture late yesterday and might get some more today, so that helps," said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Sandy Nelson.
About 100 firefighters were battling the Sinbad and had completed containment lines around 10 percent of the blaze. Full containment was expected by Tuesday.
No structures were threatened and no injuries had been reported.
Crews had made more progress at the likely human-caused Avon 2 Wildfire, which was fully contained by Friday afternoon. It had burned about 95 acres north of Weber County's Pineview Reservoir.
The Hell's Kitchen Fire had burned 32 acres near Yuba Lake, about 8 miles north of Fayette. Fire Information Officer Lisa Reid estimated crews had 95 percent containment as of Friday afternoon and was mostly smoldering, thanks to high humidity and some rain.
Given that the area is remote and rugged with no structures at risk, the Hell's Kitchen blaze was not on the top of the list for firefighting resources. On Friday, about 30 firefighters were working to hem in the fire.
"The biggest thing we've run into is we can't get engines into this area. You either have to hike or fly crews in to get at it," Reid said. "The terrain is extreme. We're just trying to keep it on top of the plateau, to keep it from spreading. The rain is helping a lot."
Crews also were close to wrapping up the Trail Fire, which had burned 2 acres in the Pine Valley Area of the Dixie National Forest.
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