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While securing the community of Fountain Green from flames Monday, crews battling the Salt Creek fire contained enough of the blaze to set up the reopening of State Road 132 this morning.
"It's been a good day for the burning operation," said Terry McDonald, spokesman for the Type 1 management team. "There's a bigger buffer now for this community."
Fire officials also issued good news from some of the other major wildfires burning in the state, reporting gains on the Dakota Hills Complex, burning in and outside of Zion National Park and the Paradise fire in Iron County.
The Sanpete County and Juab County sheriff's offices are expected to reopen SR 132 in Nephi Canyon between Nephi and Fountain Green at 9 a.m.
Drivers are warned to keep moving through the canyon, watch for emergency personnel and vehicles in the area and not to stop.
"If [motorists] don't have a reason to be in there, they may want to consider not going," added Bert Hart, fire crew spokesman.
On Monday, the area burned by the Salt Creek fire had risen to 21,251 acres at 9 p.m. Crews also contained an additional 5 percent of the fire, making it 20 percent contained.
However, the subdivision of Holiday Oakes, Oaker Hills, Indian Ridge and Elk Ridge in the Indianola Valley remained under evacuation orders.
Today's main priority will be to continue fighting the fire on the southeast side, McDonald said.
Thunderstorms dropped no measurable precipitation on the fire by 6 p.m. Monday, but there was expected to be a better chance of rain today, McDonald said.
On Sunday, the residents of Fountain Green were getting antsy. Peggy Weir had a good seat to watch firefighters battling the nearby blaze. Maybe too good.
Weir's home, near the northern boundary, had a commanding view of the Water Hollow area, where firefighters were making a stand to keep the Salt Creek fire from entering the Sanpete County community. But then news from the Sanpete sheriff's office suggested that things may not be going well.
"While it was still light, the sheriff said we should be ready to evacuate," Weir said.
But rain Sunday night beat down the fire, and firefighters lit a prescribed burn Monday to protect Fountain Green.
Hand crews spent the day looking for smoldering embers in the hills by Fountain Green in an effort to keep the fire from coming back to life, while a helicopter drew water from a nearby ranch to drop on fires farther north.
Randy Youngbull, a fire crew boss from Concha, Okla., was working along a ridge line, hacking away at scrub oak to put out any remaining hot spots.
"Our objective is to kill every living smoke here so there is no chance the fire will restart," Youngbull said. Doing that involves hard, backbreaking labor.
Youngbull said his crew, which included American Indians from his own Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe, the Apaches and a Seminole, were finding many hot spots in the root systems of the scrub oak on the ridge.
Working alongside Youngbull and his team were firefighters from Fountain Green who were watering down hot areas. Assistant Fire Chief Derrick Johnson said this was the largest fire he could recall in his time with the department.
"It's always more intense when it's something that's in your backyard," Johnson said.
Cooler temperatures, higher humidity and clouds allowed firefighters to make a direct attack Monday on the Dakota Hills Complex fires burning in and outside Zion National Park.
With the improved weather conditions, firefighters pounced on the largest of two fires between Orderville Gulch and the North Fork of the Virgin River.
Fire spokesman Rick Hartigan said additional resources have also arrived to help fight the fire.
The fire started by lightning July 15 and leapt to life the next day. It is burning in rugged canyon country through pinyon-juniper, grass, sagebrush and ponderosa pines.
The area burned was revised downward Monday to 8,942 acres. The fires were 40 percent contained and had cost about $540,000.
Fire officials Monday said property owners along the North Fork Road north Hay Canyon will be allowed to return today at a 8 a.m. Access to the area will be allowed only from State Road 14 on the North Fork Road. Properties between Hay Canyon and Zion Ponderosa Ranch resort on the North Fork Road will remain closed.
On the Paradise fire about 50 miles east of Cedar City near the Nevada state line, crews on Monday continue cutting lines on the fire's west flank and continue with structure protection at some ranches.
The fire, which had burned 5,914 acres by Monday, is 35 percent contained.
The Hamlin Valley Road has been reopened, said fire spokeswoman LaCee Bartholomew.
The multiagency fire-management team on scene now may turn the fire over to area fire departments by early today, Bartholomew said.
Firefighters are expecting some cooperation from the weather, but are still concerned about erratic winds preceding a storm front, Bartholomew said.
The Winecup Complex of fires along northwestern Utah's border with Nevada continued to rage on the Nevada side Monday, burning within six miles of Jackpot, Nev.
Ranchers in Grouse Creek and Etna, however, were breathing a bit easier after a wild weekend.
"It's not anything like it was on Saturday," said Jay Tanner, a Grouse Creek rancher.
Owners of three ranches north of Grouse Creek were advised to evacuate Sunday, but Tanner said he doesn't believe they did.
One of the three, Trout Creek Ranch in Nevada, had already burned on Saturday. The cattle were moved to a safe meadow, and the home and outbuildings were saved by a fireline hurriedly scraped into the earth, he said.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Erin Darboven said the Winecup Complex appeared to be burning north and west, rather than east toward Etna and Grouse Creek in Utah, on Monday.
By mid-afternoon Monday, the Winecup complex, which includes the Dairy Valley fire in Utah, had covered nearly 200,000 acres of rangeland in Utah and Nevada.
"We had a tough time today," Darboven said.
* MARK HAVNES, KRISTEN MOULTON AND ERIN ALBERTY contributed to this story.
However, the subdivisions of Holiday Oakes, Oaker Hills, Indian Ridge and Elk Ridge in the Indianola Valley remain under evacuation orders.
Thunderstorms dropped no measurable precipitation on the fire by 6 p.m. Monday, but there was expected to be a better chance of rain today.
* Banning them: Draper, Eagle Mountain, Holladay, Moab, Alta, Garden City, unincorporated Utah County, Park City, unincorporated Washington County, Elk Ridge, unincorporated Summit County.
* Allowing them: Unincorporated Salt Lake County (except in foothills), Salt Lake City, Ogden, Provo, Sandy, Taylorsville, Cedar Hills, Lehi, American Fork, West Valley City, South Jordan, Midvale, Layton, Cottonwood Heights, Cedar City, St. George, Herriman, Riverton, Orem, Roosevelt, Spanish Fork.
* Tightening rules: Logan, Brigham City, Bountiful.
* Asking residents not to use them: South Salt Lake, Murray, West Jordan.