Two major wildfires are burning thousands of acres across Utah and filling skies with smoke.
The Halfway Hill Fire already burned almost 8,000 acres since Friday with 0% containment. The Millard County Sheriff's Office arrested four adults for not extinguishing their campfire, starting the fire. According to FOX 13 - Salt Lake City,.the four told investigators that they couldn't extinguish their campfire which spread. They fled the area but did not report the flames. A judge set bail for each at $1,000.
Fishlake National Forest, campsites, trails and roads in the rugged area remain closed and evacuation orders continue for nearby homes. Fire crews and the sheriff are hoping to allow residents back home soon.
Strong, gusty winds over the weekend along with hot temperatures and low humidity helped the fire to grow by 2,000 acres just on Sunday. The fire update Sunday afternoon stated that thunderstorms from monsoon moisture created gusty and erratic winds.
"The fire is burning on steep slopes in the higher elevations, causing rapid uphill spread, particularly when aligned with updrainage winds," said the afternoon update.
The FOX Weather forecast keeps the heat over Utah through the week. The chance for thunderstorms increases into late week. With low humidity, dry lightning can ignite more fires and downburst winds can spread the flames quickly.
The Jacob City Fire, also out of control, burns just miles from the Salt Lake City line. As of late Sunday, fire officials estimate that the fire blackened almost 4,000 acres with no containment.
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The fire started Saturday southwest of Salt Lake City and burns through steep terrain. Crews attack the giant from air and ground, but gusty winds continue to put towns in danger.
No structures have been lost so far but nearby residents and campers were evacuated. The Stockton, Utah Police Department did caution everyone to not use water as the fire may have damaged the town water equipment.
Water crews discovered that the water was safe to drink, but outdoor watering is prohibited until further notice.
The smoke, ash and charred smell were so heavy in Salt Lake City, the Police Department asked residents not to call 911 about it on social media.
Monsoon fed thunderstorms and warm temperatures will keep firefighters concerned through the week. The chance for thunderstorms, increases on Wednesday.
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