Wildfires scorch western U.S.

Blazes still pose a threat to hundreds of homes.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | August 25, 2006


Firefighters gained ground on several major western wildfires Thursday, but said the blazes still pose a threat to hundreds of homes.

The Flick Creek and Tripod wildfires near Stehekin and Winthrop in northern Washington have prompted evacuations of town residents.

The Tripod Wildfire is threatening at least 270 homes near the Wenatchee National Forest - fewer homes than on Thursday but still with the threat of growing larger.

Extremely dry conditions helped the wildfires spread so quickly, and rugged terrain in some areas is making wildfire control all the more challenging. Crews totalling almost 3,000 are fighting the Tripod Wildfire.

The Flick Creek Wildfire is being fanned by high winds near Lake Chelan. Fire officials say the blaze is 40% contained and is human-caused.

In southern Wash., a wildfire near Waitsburg forced officials to evacuate a hospital and retirement center. Officials say the fire's extreme behavior is making it a challenge to contain.

Elsewhere in the U.S., the once dangerous Jackson Creek Wildfire near Casper, Wyo., is now almost completely under control. At one point more than 1,000 people were evacuated as the blaze threatened hundreds of homes. No homes were reported lost.

In central Utah, the Devil's Den Wildfire is threatening Oak City. Town officials there will hold a city meeting Friday night to discuss concerns about the fire. The 14,600-acre wildfire remains several miles to the south of the small town near Fishlake National Forest. One firefighter died earlier this week while battling the Devil's Den blaze.

Wildfires have burned close to 7,000,000 acres in the U.S. so far in 2006.


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