Biggest Fire in the US: Utah Battling Nation's Largest Active Wildfire

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Burnout areas near Panguitch Lake, Utah during a wildfire tour by Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, in southern Utah.

(Micah Escamilla/The Press-Enterprise via AP).

Another California wildfire, sparked by a traffic accident on a remote stretch of a highway 80 miles east of Los Angeles, grew to more than nine square miles (23 sq. kilometers) in hot and windy conditions.

PHOENIX (AP) - A wildfire burning Wednesday through a dense Arizona forest has forced thousands of people from their homes, closed a major road and created a huge plume of smoke over the same area devastated by a blaze that killed 19 firefighters four years ago. Firefighters are battling high winds as they fight the blaze that has spread to 184 square kilometres in southern Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Insisting that logging could have cleaned up dead, bug-infested trees that are fueling a Utah wildfire, a Republican state lawmaker blamed federal mismanagement and lawsuits by "tree hugger" environmentalists for the blaze that has burned 13 homes and forced the evacuation of 1,500 people.

In Arizona, a wildfire that has charred more than 28 square miles (72 square kilometers) burned and forced the evacuation of the town of Mayer, population about 1,400, and other areas as a precaution. Dewey-Humboldt has about 4,000 residents; Mayer has about 1,400.

Many residents have painful memories of a 2013 wildfire that killed 19 members of a Prescott-based hotshot firefighting crew nearly exactly four years ago.

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Residents of the communities of Mayer, Poland Junction and Chaparral Hills have been evacuated.

Nicole Perna, a spokeswoman actor Johnny Galecki, confirmed his home on a ranch was destroyed by a blaze in rural San Luis Obispo County.

Pam Baker, who lives next door, wet the thick brown grass around her home but resisted leaving.

Utah Fire Info tweeted Wednesday that 276 of 303 wildfires sparked in the the state this year have been human-caused, and urged people to avoid using any objects that can spark a wildfire near dry vegitation. He said the next 24 hours will be critical and that the state will provide whatever support is necessary. The blaze burned more than 83 square miles as of Tuesday. It's also in steep, rugged terrain that makes it hard for firefighters to reach.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released this statement about the smoke.

The communities of Pine Flat and Breezy Pines already have been evacuated with potential evacuations ordered for Walker, Potato Patch Campground, Mountain Pines Acres and Mount Union if the fire continues to grow, Yavapai County spokesman David McAtee said.

The Brian Head Fire in Utah is the nation's largest largest wildfire and firefighters are still struggling to gain control of it. On the resort's website, Burke Wilkerson, the Resort's Vice President and General Manager said that "most of the fire activity has occurred in the areas outside and north of Town, and due to the extraordinary efforts of fire fighters, Brian Head Resort, the Town of Brian Head and other local businesses have been unaffected by the fire".

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