[USA TODAY]: 30 large wildfires are burning across the West. Here’s the latest update

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More than 8,000 firefighters across the West battled dozens of wildfires Thursday that forced thousands of local residents to pack up families, pets and personal treasures to flee the advancing blazes.
Thirty large fires were burning nearly 180,000 acres, the National Interagency Fire Center reported, as the region continued to pay a steep price for a recent, record-smashing heat wave that combined with low humidity and wind to create a perfect storm for wildfires.
More than 4,200 square miles have burned so far this year, almost the size of Connecticut and 30% more than 2016’s year-to-date total.
In Arizona, the Goodwin Fire about 100 miles north of Phoenix was one of six large fires burning across the state. Dewey-Humboldt resident Terry Thompson squeezed five people, four dogs and two cats into a 2005 Jeep Liberty not long after his wife, Angie, picked up the phone to hear the recorded evacuation notice.
Like hundreds of others displaced or left on edge by the 21,000-acre wildfire, the Thompsons had to keep ahead of the blaze, which was listed as just 1% contained early Thursday.

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“I’m still in shock,” Terry Thompson said. Angie Thompson grabbed some keepsakes on their way out the door: “photos, photo albums, our safe. Oh, and baby shoes. Bronze baby shoes.”
The fire center warned that for the next couple days the fire had a “high spread potential … with southwest winds of 15-20 mph and gusts up to 30.” Gov. Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency and said he would visit the area Thursday.
The fire follows more than a week of record-setting high temperatures across much of the West. Phoenix set a string of daily records last week and reached 119 degrees one day. Temps have eased, but summer remains summer — this week’s daily highs have been a more seasonal 108 degrees.
The nation’s largest fire, the Brian Head Fire, has been burning for almost two weeks in southwestern Utah, 250 miles south of Salt Lake City. The fire had consumed more than 50,000 acres early Thursday and was 10% contained.
There was good news for some locals when the town manager in Brian Head announced that the evacuation order put in place July 17 was scheduled to be lifted Friday — just in time for a holiday weekend celebration that won’t include fireworks.

Incident Comander Kim Martin and PIO David Eaker receiving a heartfelt thanks from a Panguitch citizen at the public meeting

Some area communities won’t be so lucky, but Brian Head Town Manager Bret Howser said power was restored and Internet and phone repairs were expected to be completed sometime Friday.
“We invite everybody to come share in our Independence Day celebrations, thank the brave firefighters, help our local businesses recover and see how beautiful Brian Head still is!” Howser said in a Facebook post.
The news was also brighter near Burbank, Calif., where scores of home were ordered evacuated Wednesday ahead of a small but fierce wildfire. Firefighters quickly gained control of the blaze, and the evacuation order was lifted hours later.


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