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Canyon wildfire nearly contained

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Firefighters facing heat exhaustion, rattlesnakes and rocky terrain have nearly contained a 300-acre wildfire in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Meanwhile, two blazes started by Pioneer Day fireworks were quickly extinguished.

Firefighters from California are helping crews battle the Big Cottonwood blaze, which started Saturday afternoon. According to Dave Freeman of Sequoia National Forest, Calif., one of the new arrivals, about 111 people are attacking the fire, including management.

Two air tanker planes, four helicopters and five fire engines have been on the scene of the fire, which started about 2 p.m. Saturday.

"There's a pretty good line around the fire. It's about 90 percent contained now," he said Tuesday morning.

The burn is in the Mount Olympus Wilderness Area. Fire engines were called to protect homes on private land but were not driving into the wilderness area.

Freeman believes the fire will be contained late Wednesday.

"This one is still under investigation," he said. "We know it's not lightning," so almost certainly it was caused by humans.

Firefighters are keeping an eye on the Big Cottonwood homes because "the risk's still there," with extremely dry conditions prevailing, he said.

"It's very steep and rocky country," and firefighters had a hard time constructing a fire line, he said. Rattlesnakes are a problem, too. "We've made progress on most of the area," Freeman said.

Five firefighters suffered heat exhaustion while battling the Big Cottonwood blaze.

In Magna, children playing with sparklers started a one-acre field fire that forced evacuation of a gas station on Pioneer Day, said officials. The discarded sparkler touched off a dry field located at 7200 West and 3500 South, said Salt Lake County firefighter Jay Ziolkowski.

Winds pushed the flames from north to south, away from six homes bordering the field. An Amoco station at 7210 W. 3500 South was evacuated and closed for one hour while firefighters controlled the fire, Ziolkowski said.

The field was in a spot not included in the recent fireworks ban, and fire officials did not say if the boys would be charged in connection with the incident, Ziolkowski said.

Near Henefer, Summit County, a fire of unknown origin burned five acres Monday night. The fire began on Shepherd Peak and the crews of two fire engines were able to suppress it quickly, said Kathy Jo Pollock of the Salt Lake Interagency Fire Center.

A 180-acre fire that started Wednesday on Wasatch-Cache National Forest near Kamas is now fully contained. The blaze, dubbed the Iron Mine Lake Fire, was at an elevation of 9,300 feet.

Sawdust from an old sawmill site added to the problems of controlling this fire, which was started by lightning, Freeman said. "That'll be pretty much wrapped today," he said.


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