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Posted: 8:55 PM- LAYTON - A wildfire spread close to homes on Layton's east bench Thursday, forcing the evacuation of three neighborhoods and the brief closure of U.S. Highway 89.

Propelled by high winds, the blaze swept over 400 acres in Snow Canyon, sending a huge plume of smoke into the sky and threatening homes along Fernwood Drive, Boulder Street and Snoquelimie Drive, said Layton Fire Chief Kevin Ward.

Seven fire agencies fought back the flames using an air tanker and two helicopters. Residents evacuated to a nearby Mormon church.

The flames disappeared by late afternoon, thanks to firefighters and rain. By 5 p.m., only a charred hillside remained.

Police Chief Terry Keefe said the blaze erupted when a woman was burning brush on her property. The fire spread with the wind about 1:30 p.m. and soon enveloped hundreds of acres of private and U.S.

Forest Service property on the city's east bench.

The winds blew south at first, threatening four structures, including a barn with vintage automobiles inside. The wind shifted east later in the afternoon.

About 15 wildland firefighters remained on the hillside late Thursday, trying to keep the fire from reigniting.

"The fire laid down because of all the moisture we've received," said Erin O'Conner, Forest Service spokeswoman. "We don't have a line around it. Should it dry out, it could become active again." At least 20 homes were evacuated but the evacuation order was lifted at 5:50 p.m. and everyone was allowed to return home, O'Conner said.

Keefe said the woman who started the fire has been interview by police and fire officials and could face criminal and civil prosecution.

Salt Lake Tribune reporters Jason Bergreen and Jeremiah Stettler contributed to this story.