Brian Head fire caused evacuation of ski town
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A wildfire that destroyed one home and damaged another while forcing hundreds of people to flee a Utah ski town was also hurting businesses Monday that rely on summer visitors.
The fire near Brian Head was one of several across the West.
In New Mexico, fire crews mopped up a blaze sparked by an abandoned campfire in the scorching Southwest heat.
The fire in southwestern Utah was threatening about 100 homes and businesses. It has blackened roughly 1½ square miles (2 square kilometers), said Cigi Burton, a spokeswoman with Dixie National Forest.
About 750 people were evacuated and a 15-mile (24-kilometer) stretch of Highway 143 remained closed.
The blaze came at a key time for businesses that rely on summer tourism, said Rolane Grinnell, owner of Brian Head Outdoor Adventure company.
He said he was evacuated within a few hours of spotting flames. He said marshals rounded up ATV riders who were using his rentals and told him to pack up and leave Saturday.
Grinnell doesn’t expect to be let back into the town for days.
“Right now we’re losing thousands of dollars of income,” he said. “We’re having to turn our guests away.”
Officials said the fire was human-caused but they were still investigating exactly what sparked it.
In New Mexico, residents went home and a highway through a popular mountain range was reopened after firefighters got a handle on a blaze that forced evacuations last week in Jemez Mountains.
A separate brush fire gave residents on the northwestern edge of one of the New Mexico’s most populous cities a scare Sunday as it sent up a long line of smoke.
That fire near Rio Rancho, an Albuquerque suburb, is more than halfway contained, but authorities have yet to determine its cause.
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