A wildfire burning near Moab has exploded to 4,000 acres, with authorities worried that they may have to evacuate homes and recreation areas.
The Porcupine Ranch fire was growing in hot, dry weather that was helping to push the fire. Columns of smoke could be seen as far away as Grand Junction, Colo.
Historic structures are threatened in the Miner Basin area, fire officials said. Firefighters were watching to see if homes will be threatened.
"We're not too worried, because the fire has to cover a lot of ground in order to reach those homes," said Jason Curry with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
Homes in the Bald Mesa area were evacuated on the first day of the fire, but that evacuation order has since been lifted. A hotline has been set up for homeowners regarding evacuations. That number is 435-259-3766.
The fire has also led to flight restrictions in the Castle Valley area. A Federal Aviation Administration bulletin announced the restrictions for seven nautical miles around the fire area.
"There are some tour-based flights, and they will be affected somewhat," Curry said. "Tourism is being affected. Porcupine Rim is a mountain biking route, and the archery hunt is on right now."
The LaSal Loop from Geyser Pass to Castle Valley Junction is closed. Sand Flats Road is also closed. The Warner Lake and Mason Draw campgrounds are also closed.
Massive amounts of resources are being diverted to battle the wildfire, which was sparked by lightning on Wednesday. Approximately 230 firefighters were on scene, as were heavy tankers, helicopters and local fire crews. The fire was 8 percent contained Friday.
The Porcupine Rim fire is one of five wildfires burning in Utah. A fire in Dinosaur National Monument had grown to 420 acres Friday, with no estimate of containment.
Firefighters made significant progress in trying to contain the 775-acre Gate Narrow fire burning near the Tooele County town of Terra. The fire, which was started by a vehicle on Monday, was about 90 percent contained and was expected to be fully contained Friday night.
The 560-acre Lonesome Pine fire on the Juab-Utah county line near Eureka was declared 100 percent contained, fire officials said.The 808-acre Corner Canyon fire near Draper has also been declared contained. The fire was human-caused and is still under investigation, Curry said.
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