Utah Wildfires

Area residents evacuate as crews work to fight a fire burning near Rockport reservoir, near Wanship, Utah, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013.

AP Photo/Deseret News, Scott G Winteton

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A wildfire destroyed 10 to 15 houses and forced the evacuation of hundreds of exclusive Utah homes Tuesday as lightning-sparked blazes devoured dry grass and brush across the West and burned to the edges of small communities in several states.

Fire crews were actively fighting fires in about a dozen Western states, where drought has dried out the landscape and contributed to the extreme fire behavior. Health officials, meanwhile, monitored air quality in areas that have been blanketed by smoke for days.

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In Utah, shifting winds pushed the fire toward a community dotted with multimillion-dollar homes near the mountain resort of Park City. In west-central Utah’s Skull Valley, more than 20 structures were threatened by the Patch Springs Fire.

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