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Utah wildfire destroys 13 homes, threatens hundreds

August 14, 2013|By Benjamin Mueller

A swift-moving wildfire sparked by lightning has destroyed 13 homes and threatens hundreds more near a Utah resort town where firefighters were working for a second day Wednesday to stem its advance.

The fire, which erupted in the Lake Rockport Estates subdivision near Park City, had also claimed 20 other structures such as cabins and barns, as well as numerous cars and boats, spokeswoman Julie Booth said.

She said an additional 250 structures were “currently compromised,” with firefighters battling to save them.

The fire is among several that have broken out in the West in recent days, the result of a combination of lightning storms and dry grass and brush. Fire officials in multiple states cited unusual drought conditions that have dried out large swaths of land and fueled unpredictable and fast-moving fires.

A sprawling blaze in central Idaho still covered 110,000 acres Wednesday. Brandon Hampton, a fire information officer, said the blaze had been steadied with the help of cooler temperatures and lower winds, but forecasts called for an uptick in wind later in the day.

In Utah, quickly shifting winds created a phenomenon Booth described as a “fire funnel,” in which flames advance more rapidly than usual.

She said between 1,200 and 1,500 acres had burned so far, with “favorable conditions” Wednesday afternoon offering some hope of stabilization.


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