Firefighters across Utah worked Wednesday night to contain at least four wildfires, two of them threatening structures, amid a trio of warm temperatures, wind and low humidity — conditions that looked likely to continue into Thursday.
The National Weather Service issue several Red Flag Warnings to fire managers, indicating the possibility for dangerous wildfire growth from Wednesday until Friday evening.
In western Duchesne County, the Fruitland Shed Fire burned an estimated 10 acres about 2 miles east of the Fruitland community and destroyed at least three homes, according to fire officials. Volunteers from the Utah Red Cross responded to provide “food, comfort and shelter” to displaced families.
Officials suspected the fire, which quickly engulfed nearby structures, started in a shed.
“First and second house was already gone by the time [volunteer firefighters] got here,” Todd Hall, a witness to the fire, told FOX 13 in an interview.
As of about 10 p.m., the fire had consumed about 20 acres and was 75 percent contained.
In southern Utah, officials worried about a number of homes near a wildfire burning about 1 mile east of Gardner Peak in Pine Valley and 3 miles north of the Mill Flat Trailhead but reported no injuries or evacuations. They estimated the size of the affected area to be about 2,000 acres, with dry vegetation and wind likely to continue pushing the fire north.
“It’s really hot and dry and windy, and tomorrow the wind is actually supposed to increase from what it is today,” said Nick Howell, a spokesman for West Valley Fire, on Wednesday. “So not real favorable weather conditions.”
Color Country Interagency Fire and aircraft responded to the West Valley Fire, but Howell noted that there was difficulty accessing some portions of the area. The cause of the blaze, which began about 3 p.m., was unknown.
Jennifer Cannon, who lives about five minutes from the West Valley Fire, said she wasn’t worried about her house catching on fire — but she and her daughter could feel its effects even from a distance.
“This is massive, massive amount of smoke we got going on out here,” she told FOX 13.
At least two other fires sparked Wednesday in other parts of the state: one in Box Elder County in Broad Canyon and a second in Parowan Canyon, which reportedly burned between 5 and 10 acres.
Officials estimated the one in Broad Canyon, named the Rough Canyon Fire, was about 1,200 acres, and a spokeswoman said it was human-caused. About 40 people fought the fire with two dozers, a road grader, four single-engine tankers, an Air Attack plane and a helicopter — but as of late Wednesday evening, it was zero percent contained.