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Wildfire in Utah Doubles in Size as Hot Conditions Continue in Western US

Photo shows the Encino Fire in Sonoita, Arizonia, June 20, 2017. An extreme heat wave in the western U.S. has made the fight against a series of wildfires more difficult.

U.S. officials say a wildfire in southern Utah has doubled in size, one of several blazes burning in the Western United States.

An effort to put out the Western fires has been difficult for firefighters because of the extreme heat in the region.

The hot, dry conditions have also raised concerns about the upcoming July Fourth holiday, when fireworks and barbeques are traditions.

Officials say 400 additional homes have been evacuated in Utah, where a fire near a southern ski town has already forced 700 people from their residences. Officials said the fire, which now covers over 100 square kilometers, began when a resident used a torch to burn weeds near the Brian Head Resort.

The fire dangers have prompted officials with the largest Indian reservation in the United States, Navajo Nation, to impose restrictions on fireworks and campfires.

“As the Nation moves closer to the Fourth of July holiday season, we see an urgency to issue this executive order to help suppress human-caused fires and wildfires in our forest lands,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said Friday.

Officials said ceremonial fires will be permitted if a registration for them is obtained. The reservation spans parts of Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.