The evacuation count totaled 50 families Friday as a 12,000-acre wildfire was still raging out of control at the base of Whiterocks Canyon.
Elsewhere, the potential for fire in northern Utah - the worst in more than a century - has become so extreme that Uinta National Forest rangers are stopping all cars entering the the forest and warning them about the fire danger and passing out information on smoking, campfire and firewood cutting restrictions.Ashley National Forest officials believe the Whiterocks fire flared Wednesday from two smaller weekend fires in the area, one of them near the Whiterocks dump area, said fire information officer Merle Young.
Twenty families were evacuated Wednesday night, and winds whipped the fire through the day Thursday prompting the evacuation of another 30 families. At least eight cabins, homes and other buildings have been destroyed. No more evacuations are anticipated unless the fire turns on the community of Whiterocks, which is now more than one mile from the fire, Young said.
An administrative team arrived Thursday afternoon to direct the efforts of about 150 firefighters, bulldozers and air tankers that are to continue dropping fire retardant on the fire through Friday.
The fire is believed to be of human origin, but is still under investigation. No containment estimates have been set.
The Mt. Ogden fire burning in Ogden Canyon is giving firefighters a difficult time because the blaze is on steep terrain, said Wendy Evans, a dispatcher for the Interagency Fire Center in Salt Lake City.
Fire crews, totaling about 175 Friday, are having to walk to the fire until a heliport can be established.
Evans said the fire has consumed about 180 acres and is posing a major threat to the canyon's aesthetic qualities and the watershed.
Containment could come as early as Friday, "but that would be a pretty optimistic prediction," Evans
Several other fires were in the mop-up stage Friday, although reports from the Powder Mountain fire were not clear on whether a third containment attempt had been successful.
Near White Pine Lake, fire in heavy timber had consumed 200 acres and an optimistic containment date had been set for Saturday. Two fires near Kamas had consumed about 55 acres combined.
Firefighters doing mop-up work on the Affleck Park fire in Emigration Canyon spent time Thursday evening celebrating the end of the fire with canyon residents. A bluegrass band entertained, and a group of cosmetology students gave about 200 free haircuts to firefighters, who have been too busy running from fire to fire to worry about their hair, Evans said.
The road through Emigration Canyon has been reopened, but the road leading to the Pinecrest Canyon subdivision is still closed to all except homeowners there.
Traffic stops will continue every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Uinta National Forest until fire conditions change, according to Loyal Clark, public affairs specialist for the Uinta National Forest.
The forest service suspended sales of wood cutting permits there until the extreme fire hazard has abated.
Forest service personnel will be stopping traffic in American Fork Canyon, Cascade Springs, Aspen Grove, Daniels Canyon, Hobble Creek Canyon, Spanish Fork Canyon and Payson Canyon.
"Each district has developed a brochure with information specific to the area," Clark said. "We will be asking motorists where they are planning to camp so we know where people are."
Back country patrols will monitor disbursed campsites and a citation, rather than a warning, will be given to anyone starting an open campfirein a restricted area. A citation involves a mandatory appearance before the county magistrate. Clark said fines from $200 to the total cost of fighting a fire can be imposed for violating fire restrictions.
"We have found that the people who do have campfires in restricted areas have the attitude that one small fire won't hurt," said Clark. Clark said this is the first time the forest service has taken this kind of action.
"These are the worst fire conditions in the 115-year history of the forest service," said Clark.
Officials said fires in Fort Canyon in Alpine and south of Deer Creek Dam are controlled.