Firefighters battle intense wildfires in Utah, California - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

In Utah, more than a thousand firefighters are still struggling to contain a huge fire that started on June 17 near Brian Head, a ski town.

Fire teams across the Western United States have spent another day battling more than 20 wildfires across seven states.

Yavapai County spokesman David McAtee says about 3,400 people in the area have been affected by the fire and roughly 3,000 structures in the evacuated areas were at risk.

The fire near the resort town of Brian Head has now grown to 66.9 square miles (173.2 square kilometers) as of Sunday morning.

In California, a auto accident started a fire in Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County, triggering mandatory evacuations in some neighbourhoods, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Officials said strong winds helped fuel the fire burning mostly through chaparral and heavy grass that have been untouched for almost 40 years.

Noel alleges that logging could have cleaned up dead, bug-infested trees that have fueled the so-called Brian Head fire; a conservation group said his accusations are "shameful" and misleading and don't take into account climate change and drought.

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About 1,000 personnel are fighting the fire. "Box Elder County already has had three significant fires for June - the Murray Hills Fire, the Portage Fire and the Long Ridge Fire that was contained Saturday".

Destroyed were 13 residences and eight buildings. "I've pulled out my family photos and important records and I know exactly what I have to grab if we have to leave", said Rice, who lives with her husband and her dog.

Authorities said lighter winds should help firefighters' efforts Thursday and that it's likely a larger percent of the fire has been contained.

That announcement came after residents of Upper Bear Valley were evacuated as forecasted winds were projected to move the Brian Head Fire toward the area northwest of Panguitch. In all, 1,400 people are battling the blaze, including some volunteers from Nevada. In Madera County, the heat caused a rapid spread of small brush fires along Highway 41 this week. The Frye Fire is about 70 miles northeast of Tucson, the second-largest city in Arizona.

With zero percent containment as of press time, firefighters from local, state and federal agencies are still working diligently to suppress the Brian Head Fire, located near the town of Brian Head, according to the Brian Head Fire Department. The Brian Head Fire continues to grow and has burned more than 27,700 acres, Friday, June 23, 2017 in Brian Head, Utah.

But the National Interagency Fire Coordination Center says moisture in the southeast and snowpack in Rockies and Sierra mountains should keep fire activity below normal for July.

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  • Megan Austin