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Fire in Box Elder County exceeds 20,000 acres; blaze 30% contained

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Posted at 9:15 PM, Aug 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 19:23:15-04

UPDATE: The Broad Canyon Fire has burned about 20,614 acres as of Friday, according to a press release from county officials, and the fire is 30 percent contained.

There are approximately 195 personnel from multiple agencies battling the blaze along with five airplanes and several helicopters.

The fire was 30 percent contained Friday but did jump defensive lines to move west toward the Pocatello Valley. The Spirit Ridge Rifle Club is being threatened and crews are working to defend the area from fire.

Previous story continues below:

BOX ELDER COUNTY - A fire that started near Broadmouth Canyon in Box Elder County has spread over 10,000 acres and burned three structures so far.

"We were going down, and the fire came around us," said John Vicars, whose cabin was burned on Wednesday.

He and his wife tried to prevent the flames from reaching his property by jumping in a Caterpillar tractor and digging up the perimeter around it.

"It just moved too fast and jumped the line," Vicars added.

On Thursday, he watched as the flames jumped the ridge and headed towards Whites Valley on the other side. At one point Thursday morning, wind speeds reached a 9 mph average, pushing the fire at speeds of about 500 feet per hour.

"We do have several farm houses out there, but we got crews surrounding them," said Box Elder County Fire Marshall Corey Barton.

The fire closed within just a few football fields of Spirit Range Rifle Club in Whites Valley, but crews were able to keep it away. Firefighters are expected to stay on the fire overnight, and the hope is to have it over 50 percent contained by Friday. As of Thursday afternoon, the containment was only at 15 percent.

In the meantime, crews will be staying in Plymouth at a makeshift tent village in the town square when they do get a chance to rest.

"The community has been great," Barton notes.

He said local businesses have chipped in to donate hundreds of bottles of water as well as donating food free of charge to any firefighter who needs to stop for a break.

Locals remain hopeful that the fire will stay away from residential property, and note it's the first big fire in the area since 2013.