DENVER – The Latest on wildfires burning in the West: (all times local):
Authorities say firefighters have stopped the advance of a wildfire that prompted dozens of homes in a north-central Arizona forest to be put on pre-evacuation notice.
The lightning-sparked fire has burned 170 acres (69 hectares) on the Mogollon Rim since it began Wednesday in Cococino County. County sheriff's spokesman Jon Paxton said about 50 homes remained on pre-evacuation alert Thursday.
About 140 firefighters and other personnel are assigned to the blaze. It's burning near where a wildfire charred more than 25 square miles (65 square kilometers) in April and May.
New Mexico's most populous county is closing open space areas on the east side of the Sandia Mountains because of high fire danger.
The closures in Bernalillo County mark the latest as national forests and state parks in New Mexico and elsewhere across the West have been put off limits while dry conditions and the threat of wildfire persist.
The Bernalillo County closures take effect Friday and will remain in place until the area receives a significant amount of moisture and the danger decreases.
County Fire Marshal Keith Clark says the idea is to reduce the likelihood of a human-caused fire.
The federal drought map released Thursday shows extreme and exceptional drought — the two worst categories — have a solid footing throughout the American Southwest.
Some rain is expected in the coming days. But forecasters warn that it won't be enough to erase the drought.
Another day of hot, dry and windy weather is expected in southern Wyoming, where a wildfire has been burning virtually unabated this week.
The fire burning in the Medicine Bow National Forest just north of the Colorado state line has destroyed one home and two outbuildings since it was first reported on Sunday.
Firefighters, who have been concentrating much of their efforts on protecting homes and structures, have not been able to gain any containment of the fire, mainly because of strong winds driving the blaze.
Fire officials say wind gusts of up to 30 mph (48 kph) are expected Thursday afternoon.
The fire has burned about 17 square miles (44 square kilometers) and forced the evacuation of nearly 400 residences in 10 small communities in the area.
National Forest Service officials told residents of 163 more homes near the fire in the southwestern Colorado to be ready to leave Thursday — as well as residents who had been allowed to return to 180 homes on Wednesday.
Dry thunderstorms and gusty winds have expanded a San Juan National Forest wildfire that has forced evacuations of more than 1,900 homes.
The fire 13 miles (43 kilometers) north of Durango has blackened more than 45 square miles (116 square kilometers) and forced officials to close the San Juan National Forest in the Four Corners Region.
The Four Corners region where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet is in the middle of a large swath of exceptional drought, the worst category of drought.