- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Fire crews in northern Utah worked Wednesday to control a handful of fast-growing blazes as the state’s central and western regions braced for strong winds, thunderstorms and low humidity likely to start new fires, according to the U.S. Weather Service.

The Anaconda Fire five miles northeast of Tooele had burned about 2 square miles of brush. Fire investigators said they believe lightning ignited the blaze, which was 25 percent contained.

Residents returned to their homes after an estimated 15 houses were evacuated Monday evening.

Roads leading in and around the fire were closed as crews from a number of agencies worked to contain the blaze.

Lookout Pass, which provides access to camping in the west desert, likely will be closed for the next few days, fire information officer Teresa Rigby said. The Simpson Springs recreation area also is closed as crews set up camp there.

The fire is one of several around the state that is threatening no structures but has closed trails and waterways to recreation. Officers are urging families and others to consult weather and wildfire forecasts before they head out on excursions.

“We know plenty of folks will be looking to go places and enjoy time with their families” on Thursday’s Pioneer Day and over the weekend, Rigby said. Officials are stressing that the blazes are closing a number of roads, campgrounds and trails, she said.

On Tuesday, slightly cooler weather helped crews gain ground on the Tunnel Hollow Fire five miles east of the town of Morgan. But a stretch of the Weber River from Croyden to Morgan remains closed to tubing, rafting and kayaking. The blaze has charred about 1,200 acres there.

Meanwhile, a piece of Bonneville Shoreline Trail north of Ogden reopened Tuesday as workers closed in on the blaze. On Wednesday morning, it was about 95 percent contained.

Investigators don’t know what ignited another fire Tuesday in Carbon County that has burned 170 acres outside Price.

Fire officials from a number of agencies are asking Utah residents to observe fire restrictions Thursday, which is Pioneer Day. They warn that fireworks can spark fires in the state’s parched areas.

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