Fires

Latest: Most evacuees from California fires return home

The Latest on wildfires across the U.S. West (all times local):

10 p.m.

Nearly all evacuation orders have been called off for three major fires across California.

A fire near the Northern California town of Oroville which drove 4,000 people from their homes was 70 percent contained late Wednesday, allowing all residents there to return. Many of the same residents had also been forced to flee the possibility of spring flooding. The blaze has destroyed 41 homes since breaking out Friday.

To the south in Santa Barbara county, a large, 45-square-mile (115-square-kilometer) fire was also 70 percent contained, allowing for evacuations to be canceled there too.

A few dozen homes remained under evacuation orders for another fire burning near Lake Cachuma.

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7:10 a.m.

Crews have increased containment of a major Northern California wildfire that sent thousands fleeing homes over the weekend.

Officials on Wednesday also downgraded the number of structures threatened by the fire near Oroville from several thousand to roughly 600. Evacuees are slowly returning to their homes. At least 41 homes and 55 other buildings have been destroyed.

The blaze in the grassy foothills of the Sierra Nevada has burned nearly 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) and injured four firefighters. It's 60 percent contained.

A small wildfire east of San Jose has destroyed three homes and forced evacuations. It's 50 percent contained.

At least 3,500 people remain out of their homes from a pair of blazes in Santa Barbara County and officials have not said when the evacuation orders might be lifted.