1 found dead in Sanpete wildfire

Jun 27 2012 - 6:05am

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Towering columns of smoke cross U.S. 89 Tuesday, June 26, 2012, after gusting winds whipped up a wildfiire that authorities were hoping they would gain control of Tuesday. The fire already has burned about 40,000 acres, destroyed several dozen homes. Sanpete County Sheriff's Office also Tuesday confirmed a fatality in the fire. (AP Photo/Lynn DeBruin)
Towering columns of smoke cross U.S. 89 Tuesday, June 26, 2012, after gusting winds whipped up a wildfire that authorities were hoping they would gain control of. The fire already has burned about 40,000 acres, destroyed several dozen homes. Sanpete County Sheriff's Office also confirmed a fatality in the fire. (AP Photo/Lynn DeBruin)
Towering columns of smoke cross U.S. 89 Tuesday, June 26, 2012, after gusting winds whipped up a wildfiire that authorities were hoping they would gain control of Tuesday. The fire already has burned about 40,000 acres, destroyed several dozen homes. Sanpete County Sheriff's Office also Tuesday confirmed a fatality in the fire. (AP Photo/Lynn DeBruin)
Towering columns of smoke cross U.S. 89 Tuesday, June 26, 2012, after gusting winds whipped up a wildfire that authorities were hoping they would gain control of. The fire already has burned about 40,000 acres, destroyed several dozen homes. Sanpete County Sheriff's Office also confirmed a fatality in the fire. (AP Photo/Lynn DeBruin)

 

INDIANOLA -- Authorities say they found one person dead when they returned to an area evacuated for a large wildfire in central Utah, marking the first casualty in a blaze that's consumed at least two dozen homes and appears to be taking a turn for the worst.

Sanpete County sheriff's officials say they haven't identified the body found Tuesday morning while assessing damage in the area.

Officials announced Tuesday morning that the 40,000-acre Wood Hollow Fire was 15 percent contained and lifted some evacuation orders amid predictions they'd contain the blaze even further.

But by Tuesday afternoon, winds fanned the flames again, forcing authorities to shut down part of U.S. 89 near Indianola.

An interagency fire spokeswoman says evacuation orders that were lifted hours earlier may be reinstated if the fire jumps the highway.

Investigators were still trying to determine what caused the fire. So far this year, the state has recorded 402 wildfires, many of them caused by people starting illegal burns or target shooting in drought-wracked areas.

"It's not only frustrating, it's aggravating," Herbert said Monday, after arriving by helicopter to survey the scene. "We're smarter than that in Utah."

Property damage estimates Monday reached $7 million. Herbert said costs are likely to mount as the state heads into the primary fire season, when lightning strikes could touch off fires and stretch resources thin.

Elsewhere in the state, firefighters were battling the Church Camp Fire in Argyle Canyon, about 20 miles south of Duchesne. Crews said they had zero containment on the blaze, which sparked Sunday and reached about 1,000 acres Tuesday morning. Authorities said more than 80 structures were threatened and some had been destroyed, but they didn't know their types or locations.

 

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