Evacuations ordered for town of Mayer for growing wildfire

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Most of the fire growth from Monday to Tuesday occurred in the northern part of of the fire, the forestry agency said. About 250 residents were ordered from their homes in the area of Santa Margarita after the blaze erupted Monday, but on Tuesday night they were told they could return home. Winds made conditions more risky for some 500 firefighters assigned to the inferno, and the blaze was just 1 percent contained on Tuesday night.

The Brian Head Fire is one of several wildfires affecting the U.S. Southwest: the Goodwin Fire in Arizona's Prescott National Forest has burned more than 18,000 acres; the Frye Fire in Arizona's Coronado National Forest has burned more than 38,500 acres; the Cole Creek Fire in Nevada has burned more than 4,500 acres; and the Holcomb Fire in California's San Bernardino National Forest has burned more than, 1500 acres.

With the wind predicted to pick up again and gust up to 30 miles per hour (48 kph), Wednesday could be another tough day for fire crews. Several small communities have been warned to be ready to evacuate.

Another large blaze in Arizona dubbed the Frye Fire has charred almost 40,000 acres since it was sparked by lightning on June 7 near Mount Graham, but it was more than 40 percent contained by Tuesday, authorities said.

Emergency crews have managed to contain only 9 percent of the Brian Head fire since it started.

PHOENIX (AP) — A wildfire burning Wednesday through a dense Arizona forest has forced hundreds of people from their homes, closed a major road and created a huge plume of smoke over the same area devastated by a blaze that killed 19 firefighters four years ago.

The fire near the small city of Prescott was fanned by 35 mph (56 kph) winds and has charred more than 28 square miles (73 square kilometers). More than 500 firefighters were battling the blaze.

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About 1,500 people have been evacuated from the Bear Valley area and the American Red Cross is providing shelter and aid to those evacuees at Panguitch High School in Parowan. Mayer has about 1,400 residents.

The largest, the so-called Brian Head fire in southern Utah, has burned 13 homes and forced 1,500 people to evacuate, Inciweb reports.

Many residents have painful memories of a 2013 wildfire that killed 19 members of a Prescott-based hotshot crew nearly four years to the date.

Crews in California, meanwhile, were making gains against two new fires that spread quickly, and Arizona firefighters had to ground aircraft because of unauthorized drones over a fire near Flagstaff. Another wildfire in Arizona forced the evacuation of a town with about 1,400 residents.

It's estimated firefighting costs now top $7 million for a fire started June 17 near the Brian Head Resort by someone using a torch tool to burn weeds.

Firefighters battled high winds Tuesday as they fought a fire that has grown to 72 square mile and burned 21 cabins and sheds.

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