WENATCHEE, Wash. — Firefighters battled stubborn blazes that kept residents from homes in Montana, Wyoming and Washington as authorities worried the weather could worsen the volatile situation.
High temperatures, lower humidity and greater instability increase the potential for fires to grow, said Ed Delgado, the national predictive services meteorologist for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
"Our biggest concern right now is existing fires," he said. "We're not expecting lightning over the next few days, although that doesn't alleviate the potential for human-caused fires, especially as we get into camping and hunting seasons."
Seven homes were destroyed and hundreds of people were evacuated near Casper, Wyo., where a wildfire burned almost 24 square miles. In western Montana, fire crews were struggling to control a blaze that prompted an evacuation order for 400 houses west of Hamilton.
In eastern Washington, a grass and sagebrush fire that ballooned from 11,000 acres to more than 60,000 — or 95 square miles — before winds died down was blamed for destroying three homes near Grand Coulee, a fire official said.