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Dangerous conditions, stretched resources worry firefighters in the West

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Dangerous conditions, stretched resources worry firefighters in the West (KUTV)

As fire crews race to get the upper hand on hundreds of active wildfires across the western U.S., resources are stretched thin and conditions remain dangerous.

Active fires have killed 14 people and caused at least 500,000 people to evacuate their homes in Oregon, Washington, and California.

In Utah, fire crews continue to monitor the Ether Hollow Fire east of Mapleton. Approximately 500 homes remain on a "pre-evacuation" status, according to Kait Webb, the fire’s public information officer.

“We still want them to be prepared. Fuels are incredibly dry — we’ve had records set this year with how dry things are,” Webb said.

The Ether Hollow Fire has burned approximately 850 acres and is 49% contained, according to fire officials.

While the active fires in Utah are relatively mild compared to what’s happening in the west-coast states, Webb says regional resources are stretched thin and there are concerns about new fires starting here.

We are on edge; fire season isn’t ending anytime soon,” she said.

Two task forces of Utah firefighters are in Oregon right now helping fire crews there.

University of Utah professor Tom Cova, who studies wildfires and emergency fire planning, says the historic fires on the west coast are a wake-up call for people to be ready to evacuate.

“People are going to have to move quick, quicker than they probably ever imagined,” Cova told 2News.