Three Utah forest fires were still raging out of control Friday night while firefighters hoped to control a fourth at Taylor Canyon three miles east of Ogden by midnight.
Meanwhile, Sheriff N.D. Hayward ordered a ban Friday on open fires in five canyons around Salt Lake County.Dick Pine, a spokesman for the Interagency Fire Center, said a fire at Whiterocks, 10 miles north of Roosevelt in the Ashley National Forest, has caused the evacuation of 50 families and destroyed three cabins, a home, a mobile home and several outbuildings.
He said more than 120 firefighters are battling the blaze and 100 more are on the way. An additional 80 firefighters have been ordered, but Pine was not sure when they would arrive.
A fire that broke out Wednesday in northern Utah, 13 miles west of Bear Lake near the Idaho border and near Beaver Mountain, has claimed 700 acres, Pine said, and is sending up masses of smoke and flame.
"It's tall timber - mostly pine and Douglas fir - not the scrub oak and brush we've run into around the Salt Lake area. It's tough to move lines around with all the tall trees. That fire keeps getting worse. Crews that were called to fight the fire were diverted to Whiterocks, so they've only got 50 to 60 firefighters there."
At least 30 firefighters are trying to stop a fire in Broadhead Meadows 18 miles east of Kamas and two miles from the Mirror Lake Road, Pine said. That fire has burned 55 acres so far.
"We've got about 30 people fighting that fire, one Job Corps crew and two Forest Service crews."
Pine said firefighters hope to contain the Taylor Canyon blaze Friday night and control it by Saturday. That fire has has burned 200 acres.
"The fire looked a lot worse earlier and we thought as many as 600 acres or more had been burned, but we've cut that figure back quite a bit. We've 175 people on that fire now and it was 90 percent contained by 6 p.m. Friday."
Pine said the red liquid planes and helicopters are dropping on fires is a fire retardant chemical that contains mostly diammonium phosphate and additives that raises the temperature at which leaves burn.
Firefighters have described the liquid as slimy and sticky, a mess to get off their skin and clothes. It makes the ground slick and makes fighting fires even more hazardous to anyone who has to walk in the chemical.
"The fire retardant contains powder and granular components and coats the leaves and trees so they do not actually burn, but only disintegrate without bursting into flame," Pine said.
Hayward announced a ban on open fires in Parleys, Lambs Emigration, Mountain Dell and Butterfield canyons and said specific fire restrictions apply in other canyons.
The Forest Service allows open fires within developed campgrounds or picnic areas only, he said, and these fires must be contained in established fire pits and only where designated by posting.
"If you don't need to build a fire, don't build one," Hayward said. "If you must build a fire in an approved area, never leave it unattended and use water to fully extinguish the blaze."
All other areas of Salt Lake County are closed to burning without a permit. Anyone observing violations is urged to contact the sheriff's office.