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Multiple fires burning across Utah

(Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY — A blaze in St. George, Utah forced the evacuation of several homes near the Desert Tortoise Range.  The flames started about 1:30 pm behind the Alano Club on 640 North off Industrial Drive and quickly moved up the hill into a neighborhood.

Battalion Chief Darren Imlay tells the St. George News,  “When we arrived, we had an acre heavily involved in flames with the wind pushing it at a very high rate.”  The fire came very close to homes but then, Imlay says, the wind pushed the flames alongside the houses instead of into them.

Firefighters were able to gain control of the fire by 3:15 pm and none of them were injured.  But, one homeowner did suffer from smoke inhalation and was treated on the scene.

Imlay says this is a perfect example of red flag fire conditions.  “Low humidity, high winds, higher temperatures came all together to make a fire that’s usually small blow up to a bigger fire that threatened structures.”

Then a fire in Draper erupted around 10 pm last night.  What’s most concerning for officials is they say witnesses saw kids playing with fireworks shortly before the blaze.

The good news, the flames on Traverse Ridge were extinguished within 15-minutes.  Fire Chief Clint Smith of Draper Fire says 8-units responded so only 3-acres of land burned.  No structures were threatened.

Some residents of Fruit Heights were able to return home last night at 10 pm after they were forced to evacuate earlier in the day.  Homeowner Lonna Bouck says originally police says evacuations were voluntary.  Then they came back 30-minutes later and said they were now mandatory.

Fire officials also warned people they may get a knock on the door in the middle of the night to evacuate again if the the winds shift flames back toward their homes.  Fortunately, no homes were damaged and no injuries reported.

The cause of all these fires is under investigation.