In dry, windy West, crews target flames in several states

In the aftermath of the fire started by a downed power line that spread about 6 miles northeast of Spangle, Wash. , firefighters sent a back up burn to get rid of fuels on the ground, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. (AP)

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.

“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 grew by about 7 square miles on Monday and has now 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 58 square miles Tuesday.

At least 2,400 people remained under evacuation orders in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties, where the stubborn blaze had destroyed at least 36 residences.

Hearst Castle, the palatial ocean-view estate popular among tourists, remained closed because of its proximity to the flames.

Meanwhile, a fire in mountain areas east of Los Angeles that burned more than 100 homes was 100 percent 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 visited an incident command center in Spokane on Tuesday as several destructive fires burned across eastern Washington.

Inslee blamed dry conditions and climate change for the increased fire danger in the state.

He encouraged people to remove brush and other accelerants from areas around their homes to aid fire suppression efforts.

Wildfires in the Spokane area have burned more than a dozen homes and forced evacuations.


About two dozen homes were evacuated Tuesday as aircraft dropped fire retardant to beat back a blaze burning north of Missoula.

The fire was burning in the Colorado Gulch area just north of Interstate 90, Lolo National Forest spokesman Boyd Hartwig said.

A trailer burned and the resident made it out safely, 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.


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.

Another fire east of Idaho Falls that had appeared nearly contained took off again Monday amid gusty winds, Bonneville County sheriff’s spokesman Bryan Lovell said.

Up to 70 structures were threatened near U.S. Highway 26.


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 says the fire near the town of Richfield is about 27 percent contained and not threatening any homes.