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Jul 16, 6:35 PM EDT

Crews work to keep blaze from highway near the Grand Canyon


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A blaze is threatening a highway in the Grand Canyon's North Rim, while weather conditions in Colorado drove a wildfire burning in a tiny Colorado town that has forced the evacuation of 140 homes. Here's a look at fires in the U.S. West:

ARIZONA

A growing wildfire in Arizona could potentially threaten a highway serving an area of the Grand Canyon.

Strong winds and low humidity have fueled the growth of a wildfire, threatening the highway serving the lodge, restaurant and main campgrounds on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Fire officials say weather conditions Friday have caused a 2-week-old wildfire to char 5.7 square miles.

Crews continued Saturday to work to keep the blaze east of State Route Highway 67.

The potential for aggressive fire activity may limit their ability to battle it in some areas.

Approximately 430 personnel are working on the lightning-caused fire, which has damaged a landscape of aspen and pine since June 29.

The volume of smoke prompted a health alert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where city environmental officials have warned of a light haze in the air.

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COLORADO

Strong winds and lower humidity drove a wildfire Saturday that has chased residents from 140 homes in a tiny Colorado town this week.

The U.S. Forest Service says a few rain showers are expected this weekend, but they won't significantly reduce the fire danger.

A number of the evacuated homes in Coaldale, about 150 miles southwest of Denver, are near where firefighters are working Saturday to contain the 25-square-mile blaze. Residents have been told it could be a week or two before they can return.

People began evacuating Sunday after the fire flared up from a lightning strike several days earlier in the rugged Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.

Crews have contained other fires in the state, including one that destroyed eight homes in the mountains near Boulder. All evacuees there have been allowed to return.

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NEW MEXICO

Crews have gained more control of a southern New Mexico wildfire that has destroyed more than 40 homes.

Fire officials said Saturday that the fire in the mountain village of Timberon is about 40 percent contained.

The blaze has charred nearly 270 acres since it started Wednesday.

Gov. Susana Martinez declared a state of emergency Friday to free up resources to fight the fire.

Fire spokeswoman Linda Wallace says the blaze has destroyed 70 structures, including 44 dwellings, and numerous vehicles.

Residents who live within the fire perimeter are being allowed to retrieve items from their homes under escort.

Wallace says crews are reinforcing lines around the fire's perimeter, taking down hazardous trees and putting out hot spots.

The cause remains under investigation.

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