LOS ANGELES – The Latest on wildfires burning in the West (all times local):
More evacuees are expected to return home as firefighters inch closer to snuffing out a massive wildfire in central New Mexico.
Authorities said Wednesday that the blaze in the mountains south of Albuquerque is more than halfway contained. It has destroyed at least two dozen homes and burned nearly 28 square miles.
Fire officials say crews constructed more fire lines along two sides of the blaze. Helicopters also have dropped more than 2,100 gallons of water close to where there are structures.
The human-caused fire ignited June 14, racing across miles of tinder-dry forest. Several villages that line the eastern side of the Manzano Mountains had to be evacuated.
The blaze also led Gov. Susana Martinez to declare a state of emergency.
Moisture has moved in along much of the Southern California coast, and most mandatory evacuation areas near a wildfire in Santa Barbara County have been lifted.
Fog arrived overnight on the rugged coast west of Santa Barbara, where a fire of more than 12 square miles is nearly entirely contained Wednesday morning.
As planned, mandatory evacuation orders for many areas were reduced to warnings at 5 a.m., allowing residents to return. All orders are expected to be lifted by the weekend.
Firefighting resources are being redirected to two fires in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles and to a blaze east of San Diego near the Mexico border.