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Washington County fire now 90 percent contained; crews continue to battle blazes in Utah, Millard counties

Published: Sunday, June 24 2012 5:29 p.m. MDT

LEEDS, Washington County — A wildfire burning outside St. George that forced the evacuation of about 60 homes was estimated to be 90 percent contained Sunday afternoon.

The Quail Fire has burned more than 1,700 acres south of Leeds and north of Harrisburg. For a while Saturday, the fire was blowing heavy smoke across I-15.

Utility crews were working Sunday afternoon to replace power poles in the area damaged by fire, according to Mike Melton, fire management officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands.

Aggressive air strikes were believed to have saved many homes in the area, according to fire officials. Two "low-value" sheds were destroyed in the fire, fire officials said. No other structures were threatened Sunday.

One firefighter was treated Saturday at a local hospital for a "heat related illness," according to fire officials. No injuries were reported Sunday.

The fire started about 2:50 p.m. Saturday. The evacuation order was lifted Saturday evening.

Fire information officer Nick Howell said the fire was started by a man who was burning cheat grass on BLM land.

"I don't know exactly what his intent was," Howell said. "He is being cited."

The man could be charged with reckless burning or causing chaos, he said.

About 80 personnel were assigned to the fire, as well as three helicopters and nine fire engines. Three engines are expected to patrol and continue mop-up work Monday.

Grease Fire

In Millard County, about four miles east of Delta, a wildfire that has burned roughly 16,500 aces was estimated to be 80 percent contained as of Sunday morning.

The Grease Fire started about 12:45 p.m. Friday. The cause was still under investigation Sunday, but one volunteer firefighter said a cigarette or fireworks tossed along U.S. 50 near Delta may be to blame.

No structures were threatened as of Sunday morning.

Dump Fire

In Utah County, the Dump Fire in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain was 80 percent contained Sunday morning. The fire, which has burned more than 5,500 acres, was started by target shooters Thursday and forced the evacuation of nearly 600 homes

All evacuees were allowed back into their residences at 5 p.m. Saturday.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, jpage@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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