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Fire Kicks Up in Spanish Fork Canyon

Fire Kicks Up in Spanish Fork Canyon

Posted - Jul. 31, 2004 at 6:40 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A lightning-sparked wildfire kicked up Saturday in Spanish Fork canyon, doubling in size and arcing power lines but threatening no homes, fire authorities said.

The Red Bull fire was raging across 1,200 acres of steep slopes, kicking rocks and other debris loose. It was being fanned by strong southerly winds that gusted to 40 mpg at higher elevations.

Fire crews were clearing brush along Route 6 in Spanish Fork canyon as a precaution to keep the fire from jumping highway lanes. Route 6 traffic was unaffected, but the fire unleashed clouds of smoke on Provo valley.

A base camp was established for more than 200 firefighters, who were working Saturday night to contain the fire, burning on the north side of Spanish Fork canyon through stands of cedar and dry brush.

The fire had been smoldering since Monday, when it was measured at 10 acres after a lightning strike. By Saturday morning it had grown to 600 acres, doubling again by nightfall. Low humidity and hot winds were keeping it fueled, and dry lightning was forecast for Sunday.

The fire threatens two major power lines, said authorities for the Uinta National Forest. Service hasn't been interrupted, but fire officials say smoke was causing some arcing on the power lines. Utah Power officials were on hand to monitor the power lines.

The arcing was just one danger facing firefighters, who were working on steep, rocky terrain and vulnerable to shifting winds, said Forest Service safety officer Paul Gauchay. He said they were being especially cautious trying to battle the blaze.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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