Wildfires burn in Nevada, Arizona, Utah

May 23, 2012 at 8:56 PM
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GARDNERVILLE, Nev., May 23 (UPI) -- A quick-moving wildfire, fueled by 50 mph winds, burned through 6,400 acres and destroyed 19 structures at Topaz Ranch Estates, Nev., officials said.

No injuries were reported but officials said a hiker was rescued Tuesday after he was trapped by the blaze, The (Gardnerville, Nev.) Record-Courier reported.

As of late Wednesday, the fire had destroyed two homes and 17 outbuildings, the newspaper said. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning, effective 11 a.m. Thursday, for gusty wind and low humidity in the western part of Nevada, the newspaper said.

The fire may have started when a controlled burn conducted Sunday rekindled, Douglas County Sheriff's Spokesman Sgt. Jim Halsey said.

Officials said Highway 208 was closed to all but local residents, who were allowed in to remove their property and animals. County board members requested a voluntary evacuation of the area.

Officials in Arizona said firefighters have made progress in containing three of the four major wildfires burning in the state, The Arizona Republic reported.

The Bull Flat Fire, which has consumed 2,145 acres on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, and the Elwood Fire, which scorched about 1,300 acres on the San Carlos Indian Reservation, are 95 percent contained, officials said.

The Sunflower Fire, 30 miles north of Mesa, has burned more than of 16,115 acres and was 43 percent contained.

The Gladiator Fire, the only blaze to threaten communities, had consumed 15,622 acres of Prescott National Forest wilderness, officials said. The fire burned six structures and forced the evacuation of Crown King, Battle Flat, Pine Flat and Turkey Creek. The fire was 26 percent contained.

The National Weather Service posted a red flag warning for the area from 11 a.m. through 8 p.m. Thursday.

Two fires thought to be human-caused burned in the Coronado National Forest. The Republic said both burned less than 50 acres as of Tuesday morning. Several Arizona forests implemented restrictions on fire-related activities, prompted by weather advisories of low humidity and high winds.

In Utah, a wildfire near Hurricane closed a stretch of Highway 59 for several hours Tuesday, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. About 2,200 acres of dry desert were destroyed. Officials said winds blew the flames away from houses.

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