Wildfires continue to blaze throughout southwestern US

The Frye Fire burns the western edge of the Pinaleño Mountains in Coronado National Forest above Ft. Grant Prison near Willcox, Ariz. on Thursday, June 22, 2017. The lightning-caused fire is now at nearly 29,000 acres. More than 800 personnel are assigned to the fire. (Kelly Presnell /Arizona Daily Star via AP)

Wildfires in Utah, Arizona, and elsewhere in the Southwest continue to blaze Sunday as the region faces some of the hottest, driest weather in years.

At least 13 homes destroyed in Utah

A southern Utah wildfire has grown more, reaching 62.7 square miles by Saturday night.

The fire near the town of Brian Head is 8 percent contained and has destroyed at least 13 homes, fire officials said. About 1,000 firefighters and support personnel are battling the blaze, which started June 17 by someone using a torch to burn weeds.

More than 1,500 people have been evacuated from several hundred homes and cabins, fire information officer Erin Darboven said Saturday night. Evacuation orders were given in nearby alpine communities that are generally known for second homes as a weekend getaway for Las Vegas residents.

High winds and hot weather continue to intensify the fire but conditions are expected to improve Sunday before winds return Monday.

Officials said firefighters are trying to fully extinguish hot spots in the southwest corner in order to allow Brian Head residents to return.

More than a dozen fires in two months in Arizona

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has declared a state of emergency to get additional funds to fight wildfires.

In the past two months, Arizona has had more than a dozen large wildfires.

Friday's declaration issues a state of emergency until additional funds are made available at the start of the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

It authorizes $200,000 of emergency funds and requests that the State Emergency Council, made up of state and legislative officials, provide the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management additional resources as needed.

Heat waves makes combatting the flames more difficult throughout the region

An extreme heat wave in the Southwest U.S. made the fight against a series of wildfires more difficult, authorities said.

Temperatures in parts of Arizona, California and Nevada soared to nearly 120 degrees this week, creating problems for firefighters.

In California, two firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries as they battled a blaze in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles.

In New Mexico, authorities say a brush fire destroyed sheds and vehicles on private property and sent two residents and a firefighter to the hospital for smoke inhalation and other minor injuries.


AP reporters Angie Wang in Phoenix and Brady McCombs in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.

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