400 more homes evacuated by growing fire near Utah ski town

A large wildfire that started Saturday near Brian Head, Utah has grown to more than 2,700 acres.

In New Mexico, authorities say a brush fire destroyed sheds and vehicles on private property and sent two residents and a firefighter to the hospital for smoke inhalation and other minor injuries.

Fires are burning throughout the Southwest, including one in Utah that forced the evacuation of more than 700 people and shut down part of a state highway.

Authorities said more homes have been damaged but have not yet confirmed numbers; they are working to notify the owners before releasing that information.

But she says nobody was injured because the residences were among 400 evacuated Thursday near the ski town of Brian Head.

From left, Twin Falls, Idaho, firefighters Tenli Bright and Kori Neiwirth get ready to roll out for the day on the fire line, Parawan, Utah, Monday, June 19, 2017.

The fire has spread to 17 square miles (44 square kilometers) and is heading toward the Panguitch Lake, where there are some homes, said Erin Darboven of the Bureau of Land Management.

A wildfire burns near the southern Utah ski town of Brian Head, Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said the blaze possibly started from a weed torch, a device used by gardeners or agriculturalists to kill weeds with heat.

Forest Service spokeswoman Cigi Burton said Friday that nine more homes were destroyed overnight.

The unidentified person accused of starting the fire could face charges.

Fire officials said it is hard for them to make major progress on the burn without putting crews in extremely unsafe conditions. Previously, a 15-mile (24-kilometer) stretch was closed.

Officers stop cars heading in Panguitch, Utah, heading to Panguitch Lake on highway 143 as the fire approaches, Thursday, June 22, 2017.

"I'm saddened by the devastation of the beauty of the place", said DeLelles, who lives about 85 miles south. Smoke form the Brian Head fire seen from Panguitch, Utah, Thursday, June 22, 2017.

Haze from smoke of the Brian Head fire drifts through the streets of Parowan, Utah, early Thursday, June 22, 2017.

In Southern California, firefighters made progress on a 5-day-old forest fire in the San Bernardino Mountains that has burned approximately 2½-square-miles (625 hectares).

Another fire, sparked by lightning almost three weeks ago, has charred more than 11 square miles (28 square kilometers), and crews have started rehabilitation work.

  • Zachary Reyes