The passing of summer is letting frazzled firefighters in Utah take a breather as winds and temperatures subside.
The weather cooperated Saturday with lighter winds and lower temperatures in northern Utah, while southern Utah was hit with drenching rains that dampened any prospects of fires.Flash-flood warnings were out as an inch of rain fell in half an hour in St. George, the National Weather Service said.
"You couldn't start a fire with gasoline down there," said forecaster Mike Conger, although 1,500 lighting strikes were recorded from midnight to 6 p.m. Saturday.
In the north, crews expect to contain a 500-acre blaze near Powder Mountain Ski Area, 25 miles east of Ogden, by Sunday and have it extinguished by Tuesday.
J.R. Davis, Interagency Fire Center dispatcher, said the fire was most likely started by a spark from a bulldozer driving over dry land. "Normally, that type of thing wouldn't start a fire, but its so dry that if you were wearing braces and smiled you'd start a fire," he said.
Meanwhile, about 100 firefighters controlled a blaze that scorched 200 acres on the Ashley National Forest, officials said.
More than two dozen homes were threatened at one time from the Deer Lodge fire, 20 miles north of Vernal on U.S. 191.
The highway was closed part of the day Friday, while the blaze continued on either side of the road. Things were back to normal by Saturday, and Davis said the fire's cause is under investigation.
The Cache-Wasatch National Forest announced a fire ban effective Aug. 30 will cover state, private and federal forest lands in Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Morgan, Rich, Salt Lake, Summit and Weber counties.
The High Uinta Wilderness Area is excluded from the ban that restricts open fires to designated campgrounds and picnic areas.