Sep 2, 3:30 PM EDT

Evacuations lifted around destructive Oregon wildfire

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JOHN DAY, Ore. (AP) -- Firefighters battling a destructive wildfire near John Day are allowing people who have been evacuated for weeks to return to their homes.

The last evacuation alerts were lifted Wednesday, but residents in several neighborhoods were told to be ready to leave on short notice.

The fire has destroyed 43 homes and burned more than 165 square miles. It is 52 percent contained.

Crews focused Wednesday on containing spot fires that broke out beyond the containment lines during a period of hotter temperatures and lower humidity Tuesday. They were hopeful that cooler, more humid conditions Wednesday would allow firefighters to control the flames and strengthen their containment lines.

In other states:



Fire crews are aggressively working to prevent flames from expanding on a 3-week-old blaze in west-central Idaho that has already burned 143 square miles of dry timber.

More than 900 firefighters are battling the fire, but it was only 30 percent contained. It's burning in terrain surrounded by large amounts of unburned fuel.

Crews focused their efforts Wednesday on protecting structures along the Salmon River corridor, and rafters were still being stopped and evacuated before entering the fire perimeter.

In northern Idaho, flames crept overnight as close as a mile and a half to the historic Fenn Ranger Station, causing mandatory evacuations.

Idaho currently has 17 large fires, the most in the nation, the National Interagency Fire Center says.



In north-central Washington, the largest wildfire in state history was 45 percent contained after destroying 231 square miles.

More than 2,000 firefighters are working on the two big groups of fires that have burned more than 140 residences. Many other homes are still under evacuation orders.

Firefighters on Wednesday worked to on building fire lines around the blazes and mopping up hot spots inside their borders.

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