SPANISH FORK, Utah – A fast-growing wildfire roaring through dry terrain in Utah has forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes.
People were told to leave three communities in the vicinity of the city of Spanish Fork on Thursday, after the lightning-sparked blaze exploded in size from 31 square miles (80 square kilometers). It is also threatening to converge with a second, smaller fire, which began further to the south.
Sparked by lightning in a wooded, rough terrain on Sept. 6, the fire raged out of control in the middle of the fierce wind and Thursday.
The hot, windy weather could continue through the weekend, KUTV reported.
Lorene Miller told the station that they lived in the small community of Woodland Hills for 12 years and it was the first time that she was forced to leave her home. She loaded her kids ‘ baby pictures and videos, and fled when the authorities raised the alarm.
“There is nothing we can do about it but pray, I think,” said Miller, one of the hundreds who took refuge in a high-school evacuation centre.
The fire has also forced road closures, including the U. S. Highway 89.
No homes were reported damaged and the fire was 2% contained.
About 250 people are fighting the blaze, including helicopters and heavy air tankers, but the wind made it difficult for the aircraft to take off.
Forest managers have said that they decided to take the fire and let it burn in a remote area to protect firefighters and the increase of the habitat in the area where forest fires are a part of the ecosystem.
Utah Lt Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, criticized the decision made during drought — calling it “inept decision-making” in a tweet.