Fire Crews Quell Blaze Threatening Southern Utah town

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Fire crews on Saturday quelled a 17,000-acre fire that had threatened a town in southwestern Utah while authorities lifted evacuation orders in a nearby community that had been nearly surrounded by a separate blaze.

Bulldozers plowed a line around the flames threatening Veyo, and firefighters were inching toward containment of the fire, U.S. Forest Service fire information officer David Chevalier said.

The blaze was touched off last week by lightning.

Elsewhere, authorities lifted evacuation orders in nearby Gunlock, where about 84 of the 130 residents left their homes Friday night.

''The immediate threat is diminished, but there is still fire activity there,'' Bureau of Land Management fire information officer David Boyd said.

Firefighters were also watching the skies closely. The National Weather Service issued a thunderstorm and flash-flood watch for all of southwestern Utah on Saturday, including the fire-ravaged deserts.

In Colorado, a fast-moving grass fire was stopped late Friday near Golden after roaring to within 50 feet of several homes. On Saturday, firefighters monitored remaining hot spots while temperatures soared toward 100 degrees.

Authorities said fireworks likely started the fire, which grew to 175 acres before it was contained.

Deputies questioned three teenagers who had a backpack containing fireworks, said Jefferson County sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Tallman. The three were released to their parents Friday night. The sheriff's department did not return repeated calls Saturday seeking comment about possible charges.

The fire, about five miles south of Golden, produced a plume of smoke visible from Denver International Airport, 40 miles to the east.

No evacuations were ordered but residents were told to leave if they felt threatened. Fire crews helped property owners with hoses keep the flames from reaching their homes.

In Arizona, a 70,220-acre wildfire still threatened about 15 homes near the central Arizona community of Sunflower, but officials said the blaze had slowed significantly because of humidity and rain.

The National Interagency Fire Center said 42 large fires were active Saturday, mostly in western states. About 4 million acres have burned this year, compared with 4.8 million at this time last year.