The Latest: 16 homes destroyed by western Montana wildfire

The Latest: 16 homes destroyed by western Montana wildfire

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HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires burning in the West (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

Authorities have found two more homes that were destroyed by a wildfire in western Montana, bringing the total to 16.

Ravalli County Undersheriff Steve Holton said Friday the homes were confirmed destroyed after crews were able to clear access to them. An additional 49 outbuildings and non-residential structures were damaged by the Roaring Lion Fire, which started southwest of Hamilton on Sunday.

The fire, which has burned more than 12 square miles, is 15 percent contained.

More than 600 homes had been evacuated, but residents of 400 homes were told Thursday they could return.

Fire crews are mopping up fire lines and conducting some burnouts to secure barriers to the fire's expansion. Crews are also working around homes to cool down any hot spots that could re-ignite.


2:20 p.m.

The 2-week-old wildfire churning through the ruggedly scenic coastal mountains north of California's Big Sur has grown to more than 84 square miles. But an army of 5,500 firefighters established containment lines on about a third of the perimeter.

Feeding on chaparral, tall grass and timber, the fire continued to burn Friday in steep and inaccessible terrain, making fuel-driven runs on its south and east sides.

Many evacuation orders and warnings remain in place, but residents have returned to some areas.

A total of 57 residences and 11 outbuildings have been destroyed and a bulldozer operator has been killed in an accident since an unattended campfire ignited the blaze July 22.


2:10 p.m.

Firefighters are using cooler, more humid weather to get ahead of a wildfire burning on over 50 square miles along the Colorado-Wyoming border.

Crews were working Friday to identify and protect structures in both states that might be eventually threatened by the Beaver Creek Fire, which started June 19 north of Walden, Colorado.

It's in an area with many beetle-killed trees prone to toppling, so firefighters are only actively fighting the fire in areas beyond those stands.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Officials say it started somewhere near the Beaver Creek Campground, but they haven't released any more details.

It's destroyed one cabin, but no one has been injured.


12:10 p.m.

Firefighters have started two simultaneous emergency burns in an effort to stop an 81-square-mile wildfire that on Friday moved to within a few miles of a small town in mountainous central Idaho.

The burnouts began late Thursday on the east and west sides of Rock Creek. They're intended to consume fuel in the drainage that funnels into the community of Lowman, where firefighters have set up sprinkler systems to protect homes.

Nearly 1,500 firefighters are battling the blaze burning timber in rugged terrain. No evacuations have been ordered, but the county sheriff has told residents to be alert.

About 25 miles of a state highway in the area remains closed.


10:35 a.m.

A mostly quiet day on a western Montana wildfire allowed firefighters to expand containment and make it safe for the residents of about 400 homes to return to the area.

The fire that started Sunday southwest of Hamilton has burned just over 12 square miles and 14 homes. It was 15 percent contained Friday morning.

Residents of more than 600 homes had been evacuated, but on Thursday residents of 400 of the homes were told they could return.

Fire crews planned Friday to mop up fire lines and conduct some burnouts to secure barriers to the fire's expansion. They also are working around homes to cool down any hot spots that could reignite.

Thunderstorms and wind are possible in the afternoon, which could increase fire behavior.


10:30 a.m.

Utah authorities say a rural wildfire near the Idaho border has torched about 30 square miles and destroyed three structures.

Box Elder County Fire Marshal Corey Barton said Friday the fire has burned a ranchers' cabin as well as a camp trailer and a mobile home.

All three were vacant, and no one has been hurt. A handful of isolated farmhouses and other structures in the mountainous area are threatened.

Barton says investigators believe someone accidentally started the blaze, but he couldn't immediately say exactly what sparked it.

Fire authorities say smoke has drifted into Pocatello Valley in Idaho and the Salt Lake City area, about 85 miles south of the fire.

Firefighters have contained approximately 30 percent of the fire west of Plymouth with the help of aircraft and bulldozers.

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