The Latest: California wildfire now 45 percent contained

AP News
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Posted: Jun 18, 2016 3:35 PM
The Latest: California wildfire now 45 percent contained

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in the Western U.S. (all times local):

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12:20 p.m.

A four-day-old brushfire that threatens homes near coastal California is now 45 percent contained.

Fire officials say they were able to nail down the west side of the blaze west of Santa Barbara on Friday night after 40-mph "Sundowner" winds failed to materialize.

Those evening and night gusts had driven the flames through steep, brushy canyons on previous nights and forced closure of a major highway.

No homes have burned, but about 270 homes and ranches remain at risk and campgrounds and canyons remain evacuated.

Fire officials say the big issue Saturday is the virtually inaccessible nature of the fire's active eastern side.

Aircraft are dumping water and fire crews are trying to cut firebreaks in advance of the flames before the sundowner winds return Saturday night.

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11:54 a.m.

Firefighters have been able to reinforce holding lines around a New Mexico wildfire that has destroyed two dozen homes.

Fire officials said Saturday that crews took advantage of cooler weather overnight to strengthen lines along the western and southern boundaries of a blaze that erupted in the Manzano Mountains south of Albuquerque.

However, they say hot and dry conditions and light winds later in afternoon could cause the fire to become more active.

The fire has burned more than 27 square miles since Tuesday.

The damage includes 24 homes and nearly as many structures near the small community of Chilili.

More than 700 personnel are assigned to the fire.

The fire remains uncontained and the cause is under investigation

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11:24 a.m.

Containment lines have been secured along some areas of a wildfire that is still a threat to several communities in east-central Arizona.

The fire was burning Saturday roughly 9 miles southwest of Show Low.

Crews say the fire will spread and more smoke will be visible because of burnout operations to deprive it of fuel.

US Highway 60 remains closed as a stretch is along a containment line.

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9:20 a.m.

Firefighters battling an 11-square-mile blaze in California have caught a break from the weather — but it may not last.

Fire officials say 40-mph "sundowner" winds that usually sweep down the mountains near Santa Barbara didn't materialize Friday night. That allowed fire crews to make progress. The blaze was 24 percent contained Saturday morning.

No homes have burned, but 270 remain at risk, and evacuations remain in place for campgrounds and ranches in the steep rural canyon areas.

A heat wave also means firefighters will face temperatures in the 90s as they hack through heavy brush.

Forecasts call for the sundowner winds to return Saturday night.

The fire began Wednesday. More than 1,200 firefighters are on the scene.