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Fires Rage Through Wine Country, Utah Canyon

August 2, 1996

A wildfire scorched part of a winery and burned two homes in Northern California Thursday, while in Utah, a fast-moving blaze forced 400 girls on a church campout to evacuate a desert canyon.

The California fire broke out Wednesday in the Valley of the Moon near Agua Caliente and was burning out of control on a heavily forested ridge about four miles north of Sonoma, California Department of Forestry Capt. Garrett McInnes said.

The area’s first major wildfire in 15 years was moving away from homes but toward vineyards, he said, and had scorched more than 2,000 acres by Thursday afternoon despite cooler weather.

The Carmenet winery, which had about 50 acres scorched, was the only one of the one of the area’s famous vineyards to be damaged so far. Two homes also were burned, and residents of 75 other homes were evacuated.

The Utah fire, burning just north of Tollgate Canyon and about 25 miles east of Salt Lake City, forced 800 people to evacuate, including 400 Mormon girls on a campout. But fire crews contained the blaze Thursday afternoon before it burned any cabins.

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