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Utah wildfires are kept under control

Published: Sunday, Aug. 29 2010 10:33 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Summer wildfires are burning the fewest acres in Utah in nearly a decade.

The Dixie National Forest is taking advantage of wetter-than-normal conditions by allowing lightning strikes to continue burning underbrush in two southern Utah locations.

The Skunk Creek fire, about six miles southeast of Hatch, has been contained on about 224 acres.

The Little Jake Fire, about 14 miles northwest of Escalante, is being managed to reduce fuel hazards and promote ponderosa pine and aspen regeneration.

Forest managers are trying to limit most of the burning to weekdays.

In all, Utah has had fewer than 10,000 acres — or 15.6 square miles — scorched by wildfires for a season that's quickly ending.

Many recent years have seen more than 150 square miles go up in smoke.

In 2007, more than 960 square miles burned. About half of that total was from the Milford Flat fire in Beaver County.

Officials say it's been an unusual year, with a wet spring that lasted well into June and heavy monsoon rains in July and August dampening fire conditions.

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