In dry, windy West, crews target flames in several states
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) -- Growing wildfires stoked by windy, dry conditions have destroyed buildings and forced evacuations in California, Washington, Montana and elsewhere.
Here's a look at the major wildfires in the West:
More firefighters headed to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, where large, growing wildfires have closed or threaten key roads and forced the evacuation of a large campground during a busy stretch of the summer tourist season.
The blaze in Grand Teton park made a 5-mile run on Monday, forcing closure of a 10-mile stretch of U.S. 89-191-287 that leads into Yellowstone's South Entrance. More than 4,000 vehicles come and go each day at the site along the main thoroughfare between Jackson and Yellowstone National Park.
About 50 people have been evacuated from campgrounds and a lodge that rents cabins in the area.
"This is the 100-year centennial of the National Park Service so there's a lot of celebrations going on," fire spokesman Brian Lawatch said.
The road was expected to remain closed Tuesday as firefighters cleared debris and burned trees that might pose a hazard, he said.
The main fire has burned about 10 square miles since it was started by lightning last month.
In neighboring Yellowstone, a fire grew near West Entrance Road. A team of fire managers was being brought in to help, although the fire was not yet being actively suppressed.
All roads and major tourist areas in Yellowstone remained open as firefighters thinned trees and underbrush near the road. The fire was less than three miles from Madison Junction, an area that includes a campground, visitor facilities and staff housing.
The fire has burned about 42 square miles since it was ignited by lightning on Aug. 8.
A wildfire on California's central coast grew to nearly 60 square miles Tuesday and destroyed nine more homes, bringing the total to 45.
At least 2,400 people remained under evacuation orders in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties, where the stubborn blaze is burning.
Hearst Castle, the palatial ocean-view estate popular among tourists, remained closed because of its proximity to the flames, but officials say they are increasingly confident it will be spared.
Several other fires in Central California have burned tens of thousands of acres of brush and prompted evacuations of campgrounds and recreation areas.
Meanwhile, a fire in mountain areas east of Los Angeles that burned more than 100 homes was contained after charring nearly 57 square miles of drought-stricken brush. Investigators were seeking the cause of the blaze that broke out a week ago.
Just north of Big Sur, California's largest fire grew held steady at 135 square miles in rugged wilderness coast along Highway 1.
More than 400 homes remained threatened by the fire.
Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for 20 Washington state counties in response to wildfires that threaten homes and natural resources.
Inslee issued the declaration Tuesday after touring fire scenes in the Spokane region, where evacuations were called and more than a dozen homes have burned.
Inslee noted that hot and windy weather conditions are forecast for the next seven days.
Firefighters contained a blaze that threatened about two dozen homes in Missoula County.
Evacuation orders for homes near Upper Grant Creek were lifted Tuesday afternoon but authorities asked non-residents to stay out of the area about 4 miles north of Interstate 90 to keep the roadways clear.
A house trailer burned before the fire was contained but the person living there escaped, KECI-TV reported.
Low humidity and gusting winds caused the rapid spread Monday of another fire in northwestern Montana near Lakeside. As many as 100 homes and structures were within a half-mile of the fire's perimeter.
Authorities ordered evacuations east of Thompson Falls after a fire doubled in size to nearly 11 square miles.
Authorities ordered evacuations in eastern Idaho where a wildfire burning rangeland and habitat of a threatened bird, the sage grouse, ballooned to 40 square miles.
The evacuations were ordered east of Idaho Falls, where up to 70 buildings were threatened near U.S. Highway 26, the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.
The office also was working with ranchers to get cattle out of the fire's path.
Sunday's human-caused blaze appeared nearly contained but took off in the last several days due to dry conditions and winds of up to 40 mph.
A central Idaho wildfire expanded to 150 square miles and residents of about 125 homes in the area remained under low-level evacuation notices.
The fire burning timber in remote, mountainous backcountry was 50 percent contained and was expected to burn at least until the end of September.
A nearly 50-square-mile fire in eastern Oregon near the Idaho state line was 60 percent contained and threatening Succor Creek State Park.
Elsewhere, a 48½-square-mile blaze on national forest lands west of Unity was 40 percent surrounded. Firefighters successfully extinguished small spot fires that erupted as wind-blown embers crossed fire lines.
Crews were battling a small wildfire in northern Utah that was approaching a ski resort and a separate blaze in southern Utah burning through sage grouse habitat.
MaryEllen Fitzgerald of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest said Tuesday the fire near the Utah-Idaho state line is within a quarter-mile of Beaver Mountain Ski Resort, which is on pre-evacuation notice.
Continuing hot weather and high winds were expected to cause the fire to grow. The fire had blackened less than one square mile and the cause was unknown.
Shayne Ward of the Utah Division of Forestry says the southern Utah fire had grown to nearly five square miles. It was ignited Saturday when a car's broken catalytic converter sent hot debris into grassy rangeland.
Ward said the fire near the town of Richfield was about 27 percent contained and not threatening any homes.