Wind Whips up Southwest Fires

Wind Whips up Southwest Fires

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- A quiet Sunday morning turned into a busy afternoon for firefighters battling a 12,000-acre wildfire in southern Utah.

Strong winds kicked up Sunday afternoon and combined with hot temperatures and already-dry conditions got the largest of several fires going again.

"This particular one just really heated up and took off," said David Boyd, a Bureau of Land Management fire information officer. "It's been smoldering all morning, but it's really making a run now."

Boyd said by Sunday afternoon, the fire northwest of St. George had consumed 12,000 acres, all but a few hundred of which had gone up since Saturday afternoon. Lightning sparked the fire and several others in the area Friday.

The fire got within a mile of a big power and gas area, but fire crews cleared out more neighboring vegetation to keep the flames from shutting down the corridor.

"There's a cabin or two to the north that are threatened, but it's not burning toward any communities," Boyd said.

More than 200 firefighters, five helicopters and a single-engine air tanker were being used to try to get the fire under control. Boyd said it could take several days, depending on the weather.

A huge column of smoke was visible for miles, Boyd said.

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

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