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Brian Head Fire has burned almost 50000 acres

30 June 2017

The US's largest wildfire has forced more than 1,500 people from their homes and cabins in a southern Utah mountain area which is home to a ski town and popular fishing lake.

In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency on Friday as more than 20 wildfires burned in the state.

The National Forest Service said firefighters have carved containment lines around just 1 percent of the blaze's perimeter, and a Yavapai County spokesman said an estimated 3,000 homes and other buildings were under threat. In Southern California, a wildfire broke out after a vehicle crashed on a freeway and prompted evacuations of nearby homes in the city of Santa Clarita.

Crews dealt with windy conditions as they battled a northern Arizona wildfire that has burned almost 7 square miles. High temperatures, dry conditions and strong winds have started blazes and fanned flames in the region. Roughly 1,500 residents have been evacuated since the fire started. The freeway has reopened and the fire is 57 percent under control, he said on Monday afternoon.

John Cammack was left with severe burns after falling from a fire engine when the winds shifted and the flames changed direction. Officials say the blaze was sparked on June 17 by a weed-burning torch.

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Over in Utah, the Brian Head Fire, which started 10 days ago, has grown to about 46,000 acres, and Mother Nature isn't helping the crews.

Authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders for residents in some areas threatened by the blaze, though it was not clear how many people were affected, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. Evacuations remain in Mayer and other towns as firefighters battle a blaze that's about burned 32 square miles (83 square kilometers) of dense shrubbery. The Frye Fire is about 70 miles northeast of Tucson, the second-largest city in Arizona. Arizona Firefighters here had to ground aircraft because of unauthorised drones over a fire near Flagstaff.

The fire has destroyed 13 homes and eight outbuildings as of Monday. The Dixie National Forest has expanded its area closure to include Forest lands north of Highway 14. The resort is now closed but "will open for the summer season as quickly as possible after normal highway access to town is reinstated", according to the website. Investigators said they know who the culprit is, but they have not yet released the person's identity or what charges will be levelled.

Chad Hanson, co-founder the John Muir Project, co-authored a 2009 study that was one of the first to dispute the theory that bug-infested trees burn faster. "It's been a dry month and we had at least four - maybe five fires - on Saturday alone, and they're all human-caused".

Brian Head Fire has burned almost 50000 acres