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The Latest: California fire threatens 1,000 buildings

July 4, 2018
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A firefighter scrambles to stop a wildfire as wind drives embers across Highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks, Calif., on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

GUINDA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in the western United States (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Firefighters battling a Northern California wildfire that threatens nearly 1,000 homes and buildings say cooler weather may help efforts to corral the flames.

The temperature was around 90 in the area on Tuesday and the high is expected to drop by about 5 degrees Wednesday.

However, state fire officials say the erratic winds and tinder-dry brush and grass fueling the explosive spread of flames can still hamper containment.

No homes have burned but some areas have been under evacuation orders for days.

The fire is burning in three rural counties northwest of Sacramento and is only 15 percent contained. The County Fire has charred 113 square miles (294 square kilometers).

Firefighters have been using aircraft, bulldozers and backfires to curb the blaze.

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7 p.m.

Large swaths of national forests and state trust land in Arizona popular with hikers remain closed because of fire danger.

The closures have been in place since before the Memorial Day holiday.

Forest officials say they’re holding off on implementing larger closures because rain is forecast this week in northern Arizona and because the public has been cooperative in staying out of certain areas.

Tiffany Davila, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Management, said vegetation remains dry across the state. The agency has positioned crews and fire engines for the July Fourth holiday to quickly respond to any fires.

Last week, a Colorado wildfire burned down more than 100 homes. Andy and Robyn Kuehler watched the roaring flames destroy their cabin as they monitored the cabin's surveillance video from their primary home in Nebraska. (July 3)

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1:38 p.m.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says a wildfire burning in the Utah mountains has destroyed 20-30 structures, including some homes and cabins.

Herbert made the comments after meeting with firefighters and evacuees on Tuesday in the small town of Duchesne, about 115 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

The fire that started on Sunday has grown to about 47 square miles (122 square kilometers) amid hot temperatures and high winds.

The evacuations of 200-300 homes have been ordered as firefighters try to get a handle on the blaze.

The fire, which officials believe was human-caused, started near the popular fishing spot of Strawberry Reservoir but has spread further away to the east allowing the lake to remain open.

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11:30 a.m.

Officials say a wind-fueled wildfire in Northern California now threatening more than 900 buildings continues to send a thick layer of smoke and ash as far as south of San Francisco.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Anthony Brown said Tuesday at least 2,500 people have been told to evacuate as the sprawling blaze continues to spread.

Brown says the blaze surging through rugged terrain northwest of Sacramento has grown to 109 square miles (280 square kilometers) amid hot and dry weather expected throughout the day. It’s 5 percent contained.

He says more than 2,000 firefighters are working by air and on the ground to try to contain the blaze burning in Yolo and Napa counties.

Brown says CalFire is asking people to use caution when lighting up fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday.

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9:35 a.m.

More than 100 property owners in southern Colorado are dealing with the loss of their homes in a growing wildfire.

Authorities announced late Monday that the fire about 205 miles (330 kilometers) southwest of Denver has destroyed 104 homes. They’re still assessing the damage, so it’s possible the toll to property could rise.

Ellen Booth and Larry Booth told KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs that they lost their second home, where they planned to live in retirement. They weren’t able to get insurance because of recent destructive fires in Colorado.

The homes burned in a mountain housing development started by multimillionaire Malcolm Forbes in the 1970s. It includes a mix of primary and vacation properties, ranging from cabins to larger homes.

Wildfires fueled by hot, dry conditions are burning in several Western states.

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9 a.m.

Authorities have evacuated 200 to 300 Utah homes because of a growing wildfire near a popular fishing reservoir.

Jason Curry of the Utah Division of Forest, Fire and State Lands says high winds expanded the fire to about 47 square miles (122 square kilometers). He says several structures have been lost but it’s unclear how many.

Fire officials say the blaze started Sunday and officials believe it was human-caused.

High winds and hot, dry weather are forecast for Tuesday as fire crews battle the blaze in steep terrain. Those conditions are fueling blazes in several Western states.

The Utah fire is burning in an area east of Strawberry Reservoir, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southeast of Salt Lake City.

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8:30 a.m.

Thousands of firefighters are struggling to contain a massive wildfire in rural Northern California.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday that the blaze surging through sparsely populated areas northwest of Sacramento has grown to 109 square miles (280 square kilometers). It’s burning largely out of control.

Officials say about 300 people have been ordered to flee and more than 700 buildings are threatened in the area that’s home to cattle and horse ranches.

Cal Fire says more than 2,000 firefighters are battling the fast-growing blaze fueled by gusty winds. It erupted Saturday and at times has grown by 1,000 acres an hour.

It comes as hot, dry conditions are fueling blazes in several Western states.

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