Fires

The Latest: Arizona governor: Wildfire is top priority

The Latest on wildfires burning in the Western U.S. (all times local):

8:50 a.m.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says the growing wildfire in northern Arizona near the site of a fire four years ago that killed 19 firefighters is the state's top priority.

Ducey said in a statement Wednesday that his office is receiving constant updates from state fire officials. He said the next 24 hours will be critical and that the state will provide whatever support is necessary.

Over 600 firefighters are battling the blaze that has already burned over 28 square miles (73 square kilometers). The fire started on Saturday and fire officials are still investigating what ignited it.

Residents of the communities of Mayer, Poland Junction and Chaparral Hills have been evacuated.

Parts of two state highways are closed because of the fire.

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8:40 a.m.

Residents of a northern Arizona town that has been evacuated say they struggled to leave behind their homes.

The Arizona Republic reports that Mayer, Arizona, resident Terry Jackson put a garden hose to the roof after local authorities told him he had to evacuate. Jackson said his home is all he has and he has to protect it.

Pam Baker, who lives next door in the northern Arizona town southeast of Prescott, wet the thick brown grass around her home but resisted leaving.

The fire has burned over 28 square miles (73 square kilometers). More than 500 firefighters were battling the blaze that's near the small town where 19 members of an elite firefighting unit were killed while battling a blaze four years ago.

Another stubborn wildfire is burning in southern Utah.

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8:20 a.m.

Authorities say a southern Utah wildfire that's destroyed more than a dozen homes and forced 1,500 people to evacuate has grown again.

Firefighters said Wednesday the fire near the ski resort town of Brian Head grew by nearly 6 square miles (10 square kilometers), even though winds weren't quite as fierce as they feared. It had burned more than 83 square miles (134 square kilometers) as of Tuesday.

With the wind predicted to pick up again and gust up to 30 mph (48 kph), Wednesday could be another tough day for fire crews.

Fire managers say they are starting to get a handle on the blaze close to a highway that's been closed for days, and are working toward reopening it.

Officials have said the fire was started June 17 by someone using a weed-burning torch.

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7:20 a.m.

California is free of extreme fire danger warnings after a long period of high heat but firefighters are still working to contain wildland blazes up and down the state, including one that destroyed the home of a "Big Bang Theory" star.

Nicole Perna, a spokeswoman actor Johnny Galecki, confirmed his home on a ranch was destroyed by a blaze in rural San Luis Obispo County.

The 2.5-square-mile fire (4-square-kilometer) fire was 60 percent contained Wednesday morning.

A 9-square-mile (15-square-kilometer) fire is California's largest current blaze in an inland region about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of Los Angeles. Firefighters have established containment lines around about a quarter of the fire.

Evacuation warnings remain in effect for a few small communities.

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6:35 a.m.

A wildfire burning through a dense Arizona forest has forced hundreds of people from their homes, closed a major road and created a huge plume of smoke over an area devastated by a blaze four years ago that killed 19 firefighters.

The fire near the small city of Prescott was fanned by 35 mph (56 kph) winds and has charred more than 28 square miles (73 square kilometers). More than 500 firefighters were battling the blaze.

The blaze forced the evacuation of the town of Mayer along with several other mountain communities in the area. One of the main roads into Prescott was closed. Mayer has about 1,400 residents.

Many residents have painful memories of a 2013 wildfire that killed 19 members of a Prescott-based hotshot firefighting crew almost exactly four years ago.

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6 a.m.

Utah firefighters braced Wednesday for more high winds as they try to slow a stubborn wildfire that has burned 13 homes and forced the evacuation of 1,500 people from a ski resort town. Another wildfire in Arizona forced the evacuation of a town with about 1,400 residents.

Firefighters hope to douse areas with intense blazes at the Utah fire's southern end so residents can return to homes in the town of Brian Head. Homes there have been evacuated since June 17 since authorities said the fire was started by someone using a torch tool to burn weeds on private land.

The fire is the largest in the nation at 78 square miles (201 square kilometers).

The Arizona wildfire charred more than 28 square miles (73 square kilometers) and forced the evacuation of the town of Mayer and other areas as a precaution.

Crews in California were making gains against two new fires that spread quickly. Firefighters in Idaho battled five lightning-sparked wildfires burning in grass and brush.