Some California fire evacuees may return Monday


OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) Developments on Monday, July 10, about wildfires across the U.S. West (all times Pacific Daylight Time).

  • 10:30 a.m.

When Chuck Wilsey was ordered to evacuate over the weekend because a wildfire was roaring near his ranch home in Oroville, California, he was ready.

Wilsey said he started keeping his truck and camper loaded with supplies in February after anxiously watching a creek on his property swell during winter rains that prompted thousands to flee when spillways in the nation’s tallest dam began crumbling.

He was one of about 4,000 people who evacuated as flames raced through foothills in the Sierra Nevada, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of Sacramento.

Crews have made progress on that fire and two major blazes burning in San Bernardino County.

Authorities were hopeful some Oroville evacuees would be able to return Monday.

The fire has blackened 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) of grass. It has been 35 percent contained.

The area burning was southeast of Oroville, where dam spillway damage led to temporary evacuation orders for 200,000 residents downstream.

  • 9:30 a.m.

The fight against a wildfire that forced the evacuation of hundreds of people near the resort town of Breckenridge, Colorado, was winding down.

Firefighters had built containment lines around 85 percent of the blaze, and residents of nearby homes were no longer on standby to evacuate. Crews and equipment started to be sent to other fires burning around the western U.S.

In Arizona, residents who fled the rural community of Dudleyville, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Phoenix, over the weekend because of a wildfire were allowed to return home.

Pinal County authorities said the evacuations were lifted Sunday evening after crews stopped the growth of the fire, which had destroyed three homes.

In New Mexico, firefighters mopped up a wildfire that sent up a tall plume of smoke from mountains overlooking Albuquerque days earlier.

  • 7:30 a.m.

Slightly cooler temperatures and diminishing winds helped California firefighters battle several wildfires that forced thousands to flee their homes.

In Southern California, at least 3,500 people evacuated while two fires raged at separate ends of Santa Barbara County. The largest had charred more than 45 square miles (116 square kilometers) of dry brush and was threatening more than 130 rural homes. It was only 15 percent contained.

About 50 miles (80 kilometers) to the south, a 17-square-mile (44-square-kilometer) blaze shut down State Route 154 and sent weekend campers scrambling for safety. It was just 5 percent contained.