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Crews battling 4 Utah wildfires in record heat

SALT LAKE CITY — Crews throughout Utah battled four lightning-sparked wildfires Saturday that started this weekend in Utah and burned close to 3,000 acres.

Fighting the fires has been complicated by dangerous conditions facing crews as the heat wave continues to sizzle across the state, prompting an extreme heat warning by the National Weather Service.

Bureau of Land Management officials said the conditions have been so severe in terrain so rugged that extra water had to be hauled in — not for the wildfires— but for the crews to drink.

"It's been really extreme conditions," said BLM spokeswoman Lisa Reid.

The National Weather Service reported temperatures that hit 105 degrees at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Salt Lake City International Airport, a new record high for the date. It also hit 105 degrees there on Friday, with the weather service reporting that prior to this year, the airport had never reached that temperature during the month of June.

The scorching heat is forecast to continue at least through Wednesday, prompting warnings for pets, children and older people to take care and stay cool.

Wildland fire agencies reported the latest blaze at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, called the Wildflower Fire, which is burning in remote Tooele County. It started northwest of the Death Canyon Fire and had burned through an estimated 400 acres. There was no estimated containment Saturday night.

The largest fire caused by a Friday lightning strike is the Antelope Fire burning west of Cove Fort at 1,600 acres in Millard County. It was 30 percent contained Saturday evening. Another fire, the Gap Fire, was contained Saturday. It burned 881 acres about 20 miles north of Cedar City.

The Death Canyon Fire had been "creeping around" in Juab County 60 miles northwest of Delta but started to accelerate late Saturday afternoon. Fighting the 72-acre fight was complicated by new lightning ignitions that began to the east.

"We hope to have it contained Sunday," Reid said. "They had hoped to get it done Saturday but the terrain is dreadful."

Another lightning-caused fire that began two weeks ago, the Rock Creek Fire, has been contained but is being closely monitored for any hot spots. The fire burned 180 acres in extremely rugged terrain about 15 miles east of East Carbon City in Carbon County.

The Cedar Point Fire burned 5 acres at Camp Williams Friday, but was reported to be fully contained by 3 a.m. Saturday. It was human-caused, according to officials.

So far this year, there has been 239 wildfires, with the vast majority caused by humans.


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