SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Federal officials say 27 large wildfires are burning in the West. Hot, dry temperatures often combined with winds have made firefighting conditions difficult, destroying homes and forcing evacuations. Here’s a look at some of the fires burning Wednesday:
Authorities are considering potential penalties for whoever set an illegal campfire that ballooned into a massive wildfire near scenic Big Sur in California.
Officials want the public’s help in finding whoever started the fire that has blackened more than 71 square miles and destroyed 57 homes.
A bulldozer operator was killed on the fire lines during a rollover accident.
To the north, a grass fire in a popular recreational area north of San Francisco has more than doubled in size in less than a day.
The blaze has charred more than 6 square miles in Napa, Yolo and Solano counties since igniting Tuesday. It prompted the evacuation of an RV and tent campground off Highway 128 near Lake Berryessa.
No vineyards are threatened.
Firefighters are setting up sprinkler systems to protect buildings in the central Idaho town of Lowman as a wildfire expanded to 75 square miles.
Nearly 1,500 firefighters are battling the blaze burning timber in rugged terrain.
Officials say slightly cooler weather and winds from the northwest should help firefighters trying to prevent flames from reaching the small town.
Fire spokeswoman Jennifer Myslivy says no evacuations have been ordered.
A western Montana wildfire grew overnight to 11 square miles in the Bitterroot National Forest.
The fire started on Sunday about 5 miles southwest of Hamilton and destroyed 14 homes along with dozens of outbuildings and some vehicles.
About 630 homes remain evacuated.
Officials are reporting progress containing two large wildfires pushed by dry winds through remote rangeland and rugged canyons in northwestern Nevada.
A fire that has charred more than 84 square miles in the Virginia Mountains near Pyramid Lake was about 41 percent contained.
Another, farther north near Poodle Mountain, was 80 percent contained but has burned about 10 square miles in a wilderness study area.
A wildfire burning southwest of Crater Lake spread to more than 700 acres, prompting an evacuation warning for some parts of Crater Lake National Park.
Fire spokeswoman Lucinda Nolan said crews are trying to keep the fire east of Pacific Crest Trail and west of Crater Lake Rim Drive.
The park remained open.
People in Utah were allowed back into their homes after a small wildfire forced evacuations early Wednesday at a neighborhood tucked against a mountainside south of Salt Lake City.
Officials said the blaze spread quickly through tinder-dry dry grass and brush. Some fences were damaged, but no homes were lost and people were allowed back into the 39 evacuated homes midday.
Residents have been allowed to return to their homes after a 7-square-mile wildfire prompted the evacuation of about two dozen homes in central Washington.
A fire spokesman, Trooper Jeff Sevigney, says the blaze about 7 miles north of Moses Lake destroyed one home and was not contained.
Officials say a large wildfire in south-central Washington has scorched about 275 square miles of brush and grassland.
Progress has been made on fighting wildfires in western Wyoming, and most evacuation orders were lifted.
The only area still evacuated was Granite Creek in Teton County, where a wildfire was burning in Bridger-Teton National Forest. The fire has burned 46 square miles and is 84 percent contained.
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