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Winds whip up flames as fires hit Provo and Saratoga Springs

SALT LAKE CITY — Winds gusting more than 50 mph downed power lines, sparking a fire in Provo, and contributed to the spread of fire throughout the state Thursday night.

No structures were burned nor any injuries reported shortly after 10 p.m. as crews remained on the scene in Provo and near Saratoga Springs, a community still scarred by last summer's dump fire and a mudslide in September. A fire on Lake Mountain had residents wondering what they're in for this year.

Multiple agencies responded to a fire near the Fox Hollow subdivision, which burned between 20 and 25 acres, according to a report from city officials who posted updates via social media.

By 10:30 p.m., the fire was contained while crews stayed on scene to douse remaining hot spots, Saratoga Springs fire chief Jess Campbell said. No available updates were given regarding the cause.

Winds in the Saratoga Springs area reached gusts of 67 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

A grass fire in Provo threatened homes Thursday night, sparked by downed power lines and whipped up by high winds, but fire crews contained the blaze before it reached any houses.

Fire crews and law enforcement were responding to fires near 2680 North and University Avenue, a residential area near Riverside Country Club.

No homes were caught in the brush fire, although some sheds were damaged and a stretch of vinyl fencing was melted and burned.

Winds in the area blew at a steady 20 mph, gusting to as much as 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service. High winds were reported across the state, including gusts nearing 40 MPH in downtown Salt Lake City.

Matt Hammon, a Provo resident who was cycling in the area, said he was biking through the high winds when he saw a flash of light and heard a loud bang.

"A few seconds later I reached the area where the bang would have come from, and a huge fire had combusted out of nowhere," Hammon said. "It's really windy down here, which made the fire get a lot bigger and spread."

Off the Wasatch Front, fire crews responded to three small wildfires in San Juan and Carbon counties.

The largest of the fires, near Black Ridge in San Juan County, reached an estimated 80 acres.

No acreage estimates were available for fires near Rock Creek in Carbon County and Butts Point in San Juan County.

Heather McLean, spokeswoman for the Moab Interagency Fire Center, said fire bosses hoped to have a team of eight smoke jumpers on the Butts Point Fire before dark on Thursday.

No structures were threatened by the fires, all in remote areas, McLean said. They appeared to have been sparked by lighting strikes earlier in the day Thursday.

Contributing: Geoff Liesik

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