Bulldog Fire has Burned More Than 32,000 Acres

Bulldog Fire has Burned More Than 32,000 Acres

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A fire in the Henry Mountains of southeastern Utah grew to nearly 33,000 acres Wednesday, making it the state's largest blaze of the wildfire season.

The Bulldog fire -- which began July 8 and is named for various "Bulldog"-titled geographic landmarks in the area -- was 30 perecent contained as crews focused on shielding several cabins in the mountain range 17 miles north of Ticaboo.

Linda Hixon, who has lived in the area for more than eight years, said she sensed late last week that the fire would be a problem. She started packing up sentimental belongings and by Sunday, she and her husband had emptied the house with the help of co-workers at the Offshore Marina at Lake Powell.

The fire approached the home Sunday night, charring the ground around it. For now, the house is safe.

"The crews they've brought in are focused specifically on structures and they've done an amazing job," she said. "It's just amazing. I don't know that there's ever words to thank them for what they've done."

The Hixons are staying at the marina until the Bureau of Land Management allows them to return. That won't be anytime soon; flames flared up in her driveway late Tuesday, she said.

Protecting cabins and homes in the area remains a major focus for firefighters, said Murray Shoemaker, BLM fire information officer.

"We had some private residences south in the Gold Creek and Star Springs areas and those were saved," he said. "North of the fire ... there's a number of structures up there. Our crews are searching those out."

Authorities also fear that bison, deer and elk herds may be in danger. Wildlife resources officials are reporting sightings of animals moving away from the fire, Shoemaker said, and no dead animals have been found.

Officials say the blaze was started by an all-terrain vehicle that was on a road in the area and may have backed into dry grass while turning around. Heat from some part of the vehicle may have ignited the fire, Shoemaker said.

Nearly 350 personnel worked against the blaze Wednesday, aided by four helicopters, nine engines and two water tankers.

At 32,980 acres, this fire has surpassed the size of the Apex Fire, which burned 30,000 acres near St. George earlier this month.

In northern Utah, the Evergreen fire east of Ogden, which burned 486 acres and destroyed six summer homes, was declared contained on Tuesday. The fire was started by sparks from a backhoe driving over a rock.

The 1,935-acre Farmington Canyon Fire just north of Salt Lake City was 80 percent contained. Four smaller fires burning in Utah on Wednesday were listed as contained.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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