Wash. Blaze Destroys More Than 100 Homes

A 48,000-acre wildfire (search) in southeastern Washington has destroyed more than 100 homes, ranging from modest summer cabins to full-time residences, a spokeswoman said Friday.

The fire was about 40 percent contained, and firefighters were getting some relief as temperatures dropped and humidity rose in the region, said Barrie McVey, a spokeswoman for the fire effort.

About 1,400 firefighters were assigned to the fire, which was burning south toward cabins in the Umatilla National Forest (search).

"There's still a lot of work to do, but if we can survive any wind that may come, if our lines hold, we may have a good hold on this one," said Joe Colwell, a fire crew spokesman.

The cause of the blaze remained under investigation Friday. It was the largest fire among the numerous blazes in eastern Washington that prompted Gov. Christine Gregoire (search) to declare a state of emergency on Thursday.

Crews gained ground Friday on six wildfires burning in eastern Washington, including a 1,500-acre fire that had forced the evacuation of nearly three dozen homes for a time.

In Idaho, federal fire managers added crews and equipment Friday to keep a 2,000-acre fire at bay as it continued to burn near 80 homes. Lightning also sparked several new wildfires, one of which was threatening backcountry cabins and a historic hunting lodge.

Snow and rain in Montana calmed wildfires in the mountains Friday as cooler weather aided crews fighting blazes.

The National Interagency Fire Center said 32 large fires, totaling 274,657 acres, were burning Friday, mostly in Western states. So far this year, wildfires have charred 5.59 million acres nationwide, compared with 5.78 million acres at the same time last year.