LOS ANGELES – A look at wildfires across the U.S. West on Monday:
— Fire crews were working Monday to corral a blaze that has forced the evacuation of about 500 homes in two subdivisions nestled in the forest north of Payson, which is about 90 miles northeast of Phoenix. The fire that started Sunday afternoon has charred more than 500 acres in the Tonto National Forest. Fire officials don't yet know what caused the blaze, but said they don't believe it was sparked by lightning. Between 400 and 500 firefighters were mopping up hot spots on the fire. No injuries had been reported. The residents from Beaver Valley subdivision were allowed back home in the evening, but those from Whispering Pines were told they would have to wait a while longer.
CALIFORNIA: A deadly wildfire that has blackened a wide swath of tinder-dry forest around Los Angeles surged toward thousands of suburban homes and a vital mountaintop broadcasting complex. The flames scorched 164 square miles of brush and threatened more than 12,000 homes, but the lack of wind kept them from driving explosively into the hearts of the dense suburbs northeast of Los Angeles. Fire crews set backfires and sprayed fire retardant at Mount Wilson, home to at least 20 television transmission towers, radio and cell phone antennas, and the century-old Mount Wilson Observatory.
— Officials hope a backfire will slow a blaze that has consumed more than 7 square miles in Yosemite National Park. State fire officials say a wildfire near the communities of Foresta and El Portal is 55 percent contained. Despite aerial bombardment and 968 firefighters on the ground, officials estimate the blaze won't be fully contained before Sept. 10. About 50 homes in El Portal and Foresta are still under evacuation orders. The fire began Wednesday when a 90-acre prescribed burn near Foresta jumped fire lines and whipped out of control.
— Another 2,000 homes were threatened in San Bernardino County, and a mandatory evacuation was under way in Oak Glen, an unincorporated scenic community of apple orchards near Yucaipa and about 90 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. A 1.6-square-mile wildfire that began Sunday afternoon tripled in size overnight and was burning out of control in oak and conifer woodlands. Flames burning like huge candles erupted between rocky slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains and the farmhouses below.
— Another fire erupted Monday on the edge of Yucaipa, threatening six homes and burning about five miles from the larger fire. About 15 acres were burned. Residents of 10 homes have been evacuated as a precaution.
— A 3.8-square-mile blaze that began Thursday near the San Bernardino County town of Hemet was 95 percent contained and was expected to be fully surrounded Monday evening.
— Northeast of Sacramento, a fire that began Sunday afternoon destroyed 60 structures, many of them homes in the town of Auburn, with an entire cul-de-sac wiped out. The fire had blackened 275 acres amid high winds and was 50 percent contained. The governor declared a state of emergency in the Sierra foothills area.
— Crews fighting a nearly 2-square-mile wildfire in western Colorado are also putting out 17 smaller fires sparked by lightning. A Sunday night storm sparked the new blazes while crews were keeping the large fire away from three cabins and an outbuilding about 10 miles north of Nucla in southwest Colorado, according to fire information officer Lee Ann Loupe. The larger fire was reported Saturday and was also believed to be caused by lightning. Firefighters had no estimate Monday on how much of the fire was contained.
— About 25 residents of Molokai had to evacuate when flames from an 11-square-mile wildfire headed toward their homes. But they were cleared to return several hours later when the wind shifted to the west, away from the residential area. A firefighter who suffered smoke inhalation on Saturday was hospitalized in stable condition. The cause of the fire was being investigated. Four public schools were closed in Molokai because of the brush fire.
— Firefighters on Monday were mopping up the nearly 2-square-mile Microwave fire that threatened Mosier over the weekend. Three homes and a barn were lost to the blaze, which has cost an estimated $1.7 million to fight and was reportedly 75 percent contained.
— Residents of New Harmony in southern Utah began returning to their homes Monday after authorities lifted an evacuation advisory driven by a wildfire flare-up. But fire officials warned that the blaze could become active again with expected hot and windy conditions. The lightning-caused Mill Flat fire had been burning in the remote Pine Valley wilderness area for more than a month before it flared up over the weekend, forcing hundreds from their homes and prompting new criticism that fire officials didn't attempt to extinguish it earlier. The blaze has blackened more than 16 square miles. At one point, fire officials said the blaze threatened 550 homes and 58 commercial buildings. Three homes and eight outbuildings were destroyed.
— Firefighters expect the blaze that destroyed a large hay warehouse in Moses Lake to smolder for days. There were 70,000 tons of hay in the Courtland Manufacturing building, where the roof collapsed during Sunday's fire, according to The Grant County Department of Emergency Management. The 250,000-square-foot building processed hay into cubed livestock feed for export to Korea, Japan and Taiwan. There were no injuries, and no word yet on what started the blaze.