Fires continued burning in Utah on Thursday — from the border with Idaho to the corner shared with Arizona and Nevada — as firefighters prioritized where to combat the blazes.
A new fire cropped up in the afternoon and quickly ballooned to more than 5,000 acres. The Black Mountain Fire is currently threatening the small southern Utah town of Minersville. It was 15 percent contained by the evening.
But there was good news in eastern Utah. The Fruitland Shed Fire, which burned two homes near the town of Fruitland, was expected to be fully contained before the weekend.
Mike Erickson, a spokesman with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, said the blaze had scorched about 20 acres.
“This looks like one of the few they are going to catch and be done with,” Erickson said.
Winds of 30 mph gusted over southwest Utah’s Washington County, where the West Valley Fire is burning. It was threatening 10 homes and spread to 7,200 acres Thursday night.
It is sizzling on the national forest in the Pine Valley Mountains, too, about 3 miles from houses in the town of Pine Valley. A news release Thursday morning from the team fighting the blaze said it had grown overnight to 2,500 acres.
In northern Utah, between the towns of Plymouth and Portage, the Rough Canyon Fire had burned 3,144 acres as of Thursday afternoon. Forestry, Fire and State Lands tweeted that firefighters are protecting structures in the area.
The Black Mountain, Fruitland Shed, West Valley and Rough Canyon fires are all human-caused, respective spokespeople have said, though specific causes have not been disclosed.
Also Thursday morning, a 30-acre fire was burning in Parowan Canyon in southwest Utah. A hotshot crew and fire engines were on the scene of what has been called the Dry Canyon Fire. Firefighters were working to keep open State Road 143. It connects Parowan to Brian Head and Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Gov. Gary Herbert, during his monthly news conference, called for Utahns to be cautious amid dry conditions statewide.
“Most of the fires we have seen historically have been man-caused,” he said. “In the dry tinderlike conditions, we don’t want to exacerbate the problem. … Let’s be careful with campfires, let’s be careful with our fireworks. We do have a [fireworks] ban on state lands and incorporated parts of counties.”
He also called for local communities to carefully decide which areas could safely allow fireworks. “Most of it comes down to common sense.”
Reporters Lee Davidson and Courtney Tanner contributed to this report.