Evacuation lifted for homes near Salt Lake City suburb fire

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (AP) — Authorities lifted an evacuation notice Tuesday afternoon for 30 homes bordering a brush fire that was burning near the mouth of a Salt Lake City-area canyon.

The fire moved away from the homes Tuesday afternoon and officials felt it was safe enough for residents to return, although 60 nearby homes were still considered threatened as shifting winds churned the blaze, Unified Fire Authority Capt. Dan Brown said.

The fire near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon burned an old shed-like building that was in a field but not attached to any home, officials said.

Brown said crews hoped to have the 10- to 15-acre fire fully contained by Tuesday night.

Winds near Cottonwood Heights were gusting about 25 mph and that was expected to continue until the evening, said Mike Seaman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.

The wind was blowing from the south and southeast, but wind could also be funneling east through the canyon and toward the fire at the canyon's base, Seaman said.

Temperatures in the area were predicted to hit 90 degrees.

About 30 fire engines, a single-engine air tanker and two helicopters were called in to help contain the fire, according to Jason Curry, a spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

Investigators believe the fire was sparked Tuesday morning by some kind of malfunction with a nearby electrical transformer, Brown said.

He had no details about what might have caused the malfunction or whether investigators suspect anyone had tampered with it.

Brown said the nearby Little Cottonwood Water Treatment Plant, which processes about 113 million gallons per day for the Salt Lake metropolitan area, was not threatened by the fire.

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