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More than 2 dozen large wildfires burn in Western states

More than 2 dozen large wildfires burn in Western states

To the north, officials said Thursday that a grass fire in a popular recreational area north of San Francisco has charred more than 7 square miles in Napa, Yolo and Solano counties since igniting Tuesday.

The hikers needed to move to a place where there was cellphone reception to report the fire, so the precise location of the abandoned campfire hadn't been determined. Fire officials said Tuesday that they had identified the origin of The Soberanes Fire: a 2-foot diameter campfire lit in a scenic spot just off the Soberanes Canyon Trail on July 22.

A bulldozer operator working the fire lines was killed last week in a rollover accident in steep, forested ridges.

Fire personnel battling the blaze have been able to draw containment lines - a measure of how much of its perimeter has been cleared by fire crews of unburned vegetation - around only 25 percent of the wildfire so far.

Firefighters expected dry, hot winds and the possibility of erratic flames in a series of wildfires that have charred nearly 75 square miles of rangeland in northwest Nevada.

Residents in some rural areas have been told to prepare to evacuate quickly if necessary.

Another, farther north near Poodle Mountain, was 80 per cent contained but has burned about 10 square miles in a wilderness study area.

The only area still evacuated was Granite Creek in Teton County, where a wildfire was burning in Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Containment of the fires was estimated at about 40 percent.

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Highway 168, closed from Millerton Road to Auberry Road in Prather, reopened Sunday, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said.

The blaze near Prather has damaged three homes just outside the Sierra National Forest, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

Officials say the fire expanded by about 5 square miles Tuesday in rugged terrain and was almost 30 percent contained.

After the wind switched direction, officials set smaller fires to eradicate fuel for the bigger flames and protect the town of Lowman about 2 miles away.

The 4.5-square-mile blaze started Saturday in steep, rugged terrain. It has burned 45, 800 acres of land.

Residents have been allowed to return to their residences after a wildfire prompted the evacuation of about two dozen homes in central Washington.

Flames destroyed six houses and mobile homes, two vehicles and several out-buildings at historic Hardscrabble Ranch, according to Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal officials.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise said the C-130s will go into action Wednesday and initially be based in Boise.

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