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The Latest: Firefighters make progress on Colorado wildfires

July 8, 2018

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the wildfires around the West (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

Firefighters are making progress on a wildfire that has burned more than 130 homes and blackened nearly 170 square miles (440 square kilometers) in southern Colorado.

Investigators say an illegal campfire sparked the blaze east of Fort Garland on June 27, and it has since become the third-largest in state history. It also forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes.

Jesper Joergensen, a 52-year-old man from Denmark, initially said he had started a fire to burn trash on land where he has been living in a camper. He then said he had been grilling in a permanent fire pit the day before the wildfire started.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say Joergensen has been living in the country illegally.

The fire is 55 percent contained.

Meanwhile, firefighters were taking advantage of rain showers and increased humidity in their battle against a wildfire that has been burning for more than a month near Durango in southwestern Colorado. That fire has scorched about 85 square miles (220 square kilometers) and is 50 percent contained.

Firefighters are dealing with several major wildfires across Colorado.

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10:30 a.m.

An online fundraiser for a California firefighter seriously injured in one of the many blazes burning in the state has raised nearly $30,000.

A Gofundme page has raised the money in less than 24 hours for Cal Fire firefighter Brandon Feller. He was injured on July 5 in the Klamathon fire burning on the California-Oregon border.

A photo of Feller in the hospital posted on the page shows he suffered severe burns to his face.

The page says that Feller has amazed his doctors with how well he’s recovering, considering his injuries and fellow firefighters say he’s in good spirits.

The page says any money raised will help Feller support himself in the coming year, since he makes most of his money working overtime as a firefighter.

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9:45 a.m.

Authorities are allowing more Utah residents to return home after a wind-fueled wildfire forced them to flee.

Duchesne (doo-SHAYNE’) County Sheriff’s officials say the fire near Strawberry Reservoir now is 30 percent contained, up from 25 percent on Saturday.

Officials have opened up the burned-out area near a popular fishing lake 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Salt Lake City, as well as a stretch of highway.

They say the wildfire has charred about 75 square miles (193 square kilometers) and destroyed 90 structures, including homes, cabins, sheds and garages, since starting July 1 in the mountains.

Authorities believe human activity sparked the blaze, but an exact cause hasn’t been determined.

8:30 a.m.

Firefighters have been able to build containment around several destructive wildfires burning in California.

Officials said Sunday that the 48-square-mile (124-square-kilometer) blaze on the California-Oregon border known as the Klamathon fire is now 25 percent contained. It’s one of many fires burning around the drought-ridden states in the U.S. West.

The fire killed one woman in her home and destroyed 72 structures, including homes.

Crews have built at least 80 percent containment on a wildfire that destroyed 20 homes in Santa Barbara County and a central San Diego County fire that burned 18 structures.

The state’s largest blaze, the 138-square-mile (357-square-kilometer) County Fire, is 57 percent contained. It has destroyed 10 structures since it broke out June 30.

Other major fires in the state are close to being fully contained.

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