Late summer heat and dry winds didn't help firefighters battling blazes throughout the state.
Mobile homes in Toquerville were spared from flames as an approximately 100-acre fire came close enough to threaten them Saturday afternoon. The human-caused brush fire was nearly contained after 10 p.m., mostly due to its reaching cliffs' edges, enforcing natural geographic barriers, said Nick Howell, fire management specialist with the Cedar City Bureau of Land Management.
"It's a good thing we got it taken care of before it reached those homes," he said. As a precaution, the homes were evacuated earlier in the day.
• Meanwhile, the Porcupine Ranch fire, blazing two miles east of Castle Valley, continued to burn through more than 3,400 acres in Moab as well, creeping onto the doorsteps of nearly 20 homes in the area. Various campgrounds and roads were closed as hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze.
As of Saturday evening, Porcupine was 50 percent contained and a forecast of thunderstorms promised to dampen flames.
Weather conditions and steep terrain prohibited firefighters from gaining ground on the Moab fire, which was sparked by dry lightning earlier in the week.
• A human-caused blaze near Cedar Fort in Utah County blew through nearly 300 acres, 100 of them in less than 30 minutes Saturday afternoon. Air support allowed firefighters a quick attack on the fire, which continues to burn north but is mostly contained.
• A small lightning-sparked fire started just after 10 p.m. in the hills above Brigham City. No homes were threatened.
• Nearly 500 acres at Vernal's Dinosaur National Monument have burned due to lightning. Various trees throughout the park were dry fuel for the flames, as well as grasses on the east side of the park, said National Park Services spokeswoman Carla Beasley.
No roads or homes were threatened by the Split Top 1 fire, as control of the unruly blaze was expected to be had by nightfall Saturday. An estimate for full containment was unknown, Beasley said.
• Smoke pollution collected throughout the skies in northeastern Utah as various BLM-managed fires also burned on watch of the U.S. Forest Service. The naturally ignited fires are being managed as they burn through the ecosystem to encourage new vegetation and rid terrain of the old.
Rain showers and thunderstorms were expected to move in over much of the state throughout the evening and early this morning, providing much-needed relief to firefighters and moisture to dry, burning lands. Storms are expected to last through Monday, with warmer temperatures returning Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.
E-MAIL: [email protected]