A glance at wildfires burning in Western states

AP News
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Posted: Jun 24, 2016 6:26 PM

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (AP) — Crews in six Western states struggled Friday to keep flames from incinerating homes, mountain cabins and rural ranches. Here's a look at the largest and most active fires:

CALIFORNIA

A wind-whipped wildfire roaring through communities in California's southern Sierra Nevada killed two people and burned 80 homes.

The fire erupted Thursday afternoon and exploded in size, burning more than 29 square miles. Many people barely had time to flee as the blaze swept through the area. Propane tanks blew up and smoke obscured the path to safety.

The two people died in Lake Isabella, a popular recreation area east of Bakersfield.

East of San Diego, containment of an 11½-square-mile fire near the Mexico border increased to 45 percent and evacuations were lifted Thursday evening. Five homes and 11 outbuildings have been destroyed since the fire erupted Sunday.

Firefighters made progress on two wildfires in the San Gabriel Mountains near foothill suburbs northeast of Los Angeles. The two fires covered a total of more than 8 square miles and were 30 percent contained. Two areas remained evacuated.

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UTAH

Firefighters were trying to contain a wildfire burning on the edge of a small mountain town from descending on homes.

Residents of about 400 homes in the southwestern town of Pine Valley were encouraged to leave and warned that mandatory evacuations could be ordered if the fire flared up.

The lightning-caused blaze was about a mile away from some homes after charring 1 ½ square miles on a steep canyon slope.

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COLORADO

Firefighters cleared brush and wet grass on the edges of a forest near the Wyoming border, where a blaze burned 8 square miles of heavy timber.

Crews concentrated on keeping the flames away from about 40 nearby vacation homes. Fire officials said the fire was feeding on large, standing trees killed by a beetle infestation.

There was concern that erratic gusty winds over the weekend could fan the flames.

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NEW MEXICO

Crews were close to encircling a destructive wildfire burning in the Manzano Mountains southeast of Albuquerque.

The fire eased after the area received up to 3 inches of rain, officials said. It was more than 80 percent contained after charring 28 square miles.

The human-caused blaze destroyed 24 homes and numerous other structures near Chilili, one of several villages and subdivisions bordering Cibola National Forest.

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WYOMING

A two-square-mile wildfire southwest of Sundance was 30 percent contained. Lightning sparked the fire on Tuesday.

Residents of about 20 homes were advised to evacuate. They were allowed to take horses and other livestock to a fairground.

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ARIZONA

A massive wildfire was no longer endangering residents of some eastern Arizona communities.

The Navajo County Sheriff's Office announced Friday that residents in Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside and other unincorporated areas could stand down after being told for days to prepare to evacuate if needed.

The fire that burned 72 square miles of brush and pine was 42 percent contained after crews carved miles of fire line on its northern and southern edges.