More than 2 dozen fires burning across Utah

By Lynn DeBruin

Associated Press

Published: Friday, July 13 2012 1:31 p.m. MDT

This image provided by the Utah Bureau of Land Management shows the Baboon wildfire burnig in southwestern Utah, Thursday July 12, 2012. Fire crews are battling the wildfire in southwestern Utah that has burned nearly 27 square miles in just a few hours. The blaze in Beaver County is among four new fires reported Thursday.

Nick Howell, Utah Bureau of Land Management, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — More than two dozen fires burned across Utah on Friday after several were ignited by lightning in the remote northwest corner of the state.

Most of the fires were in rural areas, although smoke from the blazes had reached as far as St. George and Salt Lake City, authorities said.

Overnight rain slowed growth of the Baboon Fire, which has charred nearly 30 square miles south of Minersville.

Evacuation orders were lifted on a farm and Highway 130 was reopened in southwestern Utah, Bureau of Land Management spokesman Don Carpenter said.

"We had pretty good rain on it last night," said Jason Curry, a spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. "That has really diminished the amount of growth."

In northwestern Utah, lightning set off five new fires late Thursday, bringing to seven the number burning in the high-desert grasslands about 20 miles north of the tiny Box Elder County community of Grouse Creek.

The Red Butte Fire grew to about 1½ square miles, but no homes were threatened.

Thirteen fires started by lightning continued burning along the Arizona strip. The Hobble complex of fires has burned 28 square miles while the Plateau Fire was estimated at 7 square miles.

Smoke from the fires was affecting St. George to the north, prompting city officials to warn residents against going outside.

Another fire in Tooele County has burned 350 acres on the west slope of the Oquirrh Mountains and was blowing smoke into Salt Lake City.

Additional rain in the forecast Friday could aid firefighting efforts.

"Our biggest concern is the safety of the firefighters," Curry said. "When there's lightning in the mix and rain coming down, it creates slippery conditions."

In central Utah, a small fire burning near Moroni forced evacuation of a popular rock climbing area in Maple Canyon.

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