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Posted: 9:58 AM- KANOSH - Buoyed by fresh crews, an army of more than 500 firefighters have contained 40 percent of the 350,000-acre Milford Flats Fire.
The lightning-sparked southcentral Utah blaze gained roughly 10,000 acres overnight, making minor advances on its northeast and southeast perimeters. But high humidity helped dampen flames, fire managers said.
Jill Ivie, a spokeswoman for the Fire Incident Management command, said the dry lightning that was feared from an overnight storm failed to materialize.
"We haven't seen relative humidity over 40 percent in a while now," she said, noting the moisture level reached 46 percent as thunderstorms moved into the region.
However, more afternoon winds today could give the 536 firefighters on the scene difficulty. Crews are concerned that the gusts could cause hot spots to flare anew, or fan embers across fire lines along the blaze's eastern edge.
Federal officials have budgeted $12 million to fight the Milford Flat wildfire, though fire managers hope to use significantly less of that money.
Still, the way things are going, it could be a long and expensive summer, said Utah State Forester Dick Buhler. There are 14 wildfires burning in the eastern Great Basin alone.
"In my 34 years in this profession, these are the worst fire conditions I've seen," he said. "Extremely low humidity, triple digit temperatures, winds, and very dry fuels."