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Utah’s Brian Head resort to reopen as wildfire threat passes

Updated June 29, 2017 - 9:14 pm

BRIAN HEAD, Utah — Residents will be able to return to their homes Friday and the town’s ski resort will open a day later, according to the area’s tourism bureau.

Brian Head Resort will open some of its hiking trails and mountain biking areas to the public — two weeks after a wildfire that scorched the surrounding forest ignited, the Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau said Thursday in a statement.

The opening comes just in time for businesses to benefit from what is traditionally one of the town’s busiest weekends of the summer.

Bret Howser, Brian Head’s town manager, said the population in town can grow to 10,000 for the Fourth of July weekend. The town has about 100 permanent residents, he said, but the population usually hovers around 1,000 because of part-time residents, he said.

Tourists who visit the resort will be able to use the chairlift-accessible hiking trails and mountain bike park. Many other trails will remain closed.

Visitors will have limited access to state highways as crews continue to battle the nation’s largest active wildfire, which is burning away from Brian Head.

The enormous blaze, which had consumed more than 90 square miles of forest as of Thursday morning and was about 15 percent contained, was started by someone who used a torch tool to burn weeds.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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