Fireworks Spark Utah Wildfire, Evacuations, Officials Say

June 29, 2020

Fireworks caused a wildfire in Utah that forced out residents of houses and an apartment building early on June 28 as the flames encroached on a residential area, officials said.

A suspect was cooperating with law enforcement, Utah Fire Info said in a tweet. Strong wind gusts had been reported in the Lehi area as the Traverse Fire grew to more than 500 acres (200 hectares) by 7 a.m. Sunday morning, the agency said.

Photos showed the fire erupting in the background of a residential area and behind a large church. Evacuations were ordered in Lehi and Draper, but some residents who evacuated were later allowed to return.

About 20 homes were in imminent danger when crews first arrived. Early morning rain helped tamp down the flames and no structures were considered threatened by mid-morning on Sunday, Lehi Fire Chief Jeremy Craft told KSL-TV.

A high school gym in Lehi and a middle school in Draper were offered as shelters, according to tweets from the cities.

No injuries and only minor structural damage were immediately reported, and The Red Cross said the Draper shelter was being closed because it had no evacuees.

Dangerous fire conditions were forecast for Sunday afternoon through Monday across parts of Utah. Wind guts of up to 50 miles per hour and low relative humidity levels would mean any fires that started could rapidly spread.

Rocky Mountain Power tweeted that about 7,500 customers lost power. Draper said around 6,000 of its households were in the dark.

Lehi is about 28 miles (45 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City.

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