Domestic briefs: Western wildfires growing fast

August 17, 2013
Idaho
Western wildfires are growing quickly

Fire crews on Saturday faced another challenging day battling a rapidly growing wildfire burning closer to two posh central Idaho resort communities, while other blazes in the West charred homes, dry grass and brush.

In northern Utah, several manufactured homes were destroyed when a wildfire raced through Willow Springs late Friday, jumping a state highway and fire lines, authorities said.

As of early Saturday, the Patch Springs Fire had burned about 33,000 acres, or more than 50 square miles. It was estimated at 20 percent contained.

In Idaho, the Beaver Creek Fire grew by 15 square miles early Saturday, to 144 square miles. Overnight, flames moved closer to homes in mountains west and north of Hailey, Ketchum and the Sun Valley Resort.

Authorities have issued mandatory evacuations for 1,600 residences. More homeowners, along with the growing number of firefighters and support staff, could be asked to move Saturday, fire officials said.

The blaze was started by lightning Aug. 7. Fire managers and more than 700 firefighters are bracing for another dose of high temperatures and afternoon wind gusts up to 30 mph that could move flames closer to homes. Hundreds more firefighters were to arrive Saturday.

— Associated Press

Alabama
NTSB: Controls were working on UPS jet

Federal investigators said Saturday they haven’t found any problems with the controls in a UPS cargo jet that crashed while landing in Alabama, killing the two pilots.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said the cockpit controls in the A300 aircraft appeared to be working before the Wednesday crash, and they matched the positions of the airplane’s flaps and rudders.

Sumwalt said the plane’s data recorder showed the autopilot was engaged until the final second of the recording, but he said that was not unusual.

The aircraft went down less than a mile from the end of a 7,000-foot runway that lacks the equipment for full-instrument landings at Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport.

A 12,000-foot runway with a more complete guidance system was closed for maintenance on its lights at the time of the early-morning crash.

— Associated Press

California
Condom law upheld for adult-film actors

A Los Angeles County law requiring adult film performers to wear condoms is constitutional, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision is a setback to porn producers who sued to block implementation of the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, or Measure B, which was approved by voters last November. It was sponsored by five people affiliated with the nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

In the ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson wrote that supporters presented sufficient evidence of the health risks that the measure seeks to reduce.

The law “will in fact alleviate those harms in a direct and material way,” Pregerson wrote.

Vivid Entertainment and Califa Productions and porn performers Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce sued the county in January to prevent the implementation of the new law.

Since the law’s adoption, Los Angeles County health officials have confirmed they are investigating at least one alleged violation.

— Associated Press

Feds shut down NYC bus line: A New York City bus line that stranded 53 passengers at a Virginia truck stop for 24 hours has been closed by federal authorities. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it shut Staten Island-based All Nations Coach after discovering it was a reincarnation of another firm closed a year earlier for safety violations and for failing to pay fines. The agency says All Nations had the same owners, drivers, routes, managers and vehicles as the previously closed Tichy Express. The investigation was underway when an All Nations bus traveling from Charlotte to New York broke down at midnight on Interstate 95 last month. A replacement bus didn’t arrive until the following night.

Hunter is rescued after mauling in Alaska: National Guard crews rescued a hunter more than 36 hours after he was mauled by a brown bear in northern Alaska’s remote Brooks Range, the Alaska Air National Guard said Friday. The man was part of a guided hunting party north of the tiny village of Anaktuvuk Pass. Initial rescue efforts by local search teams were turned back because of dense fog. A medical professional who happened to be in a nearby hunting party reached the man and stemmed his blood loss. A Guard helicopter reached the victim before 3 a.m. Friday, officials said.

— From news services

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