- - Wednesday, August 8, 2012


SALT LAKE CITY — A wildfire burning on a Utah military installation has officials concerned about the potential it could spread to an area littered with thousands of unexploded shells, which could still detonate.

Utah National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Hank McIntire said Wednesday the wildfire was moving away from an artillery practice area, but it has previously gotten as close as a few hundred yards. Officials worry about what could happen if it marches back.

“We can’t actively fight the fire in that area because of the threat to personal safety,” Col. McIntire said.

Col. McIntire said the practice area covers hundreds of acres and has collected shells for nearly a century, since 1914. The unexploded shells could still ignite in a wildfire, sending shrapnel flying.

The Pinyon Fire on Utah National Guard’s Camp Williams about 40 miles southwest of Salt Lake City has scorched 4.7 square miles since it was started by lightning Sunday. It was 40 percent contained Wednesday morning.

People in nearly 100 homes were forced to flee at one point, but evacuation orders were lifted Tuesday. Some residents had left their homes voluntarily.


Southern Calif. shakes from small earthquakes

YORBA LINDA — Southern California was shaken Wednesday by the second moderate but widely felt earthquake in less than 11 hours, but no harm was reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-4.5 quake occurred at 9:33 a.m. and was centered two miles northeast of the Orange County city of Yorba Linda, about 35 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

A magnitude-4.5 quake centered in the same area struck late Tuesday night. Both temblors were followed by aftershocks that were mostly too small to be felt.

Quakes of such magnitude are unlikely to cause damage in cities built to modern standards but can rattle nerves.

The Orange County Fire Authority did not receive any 911 calls about the latest quake, said Capt. Marc Stone.

Seismologist Kate Hutton of the California Institute of Technology characterized the quakes as a swarm.

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