TROUTDALE, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires burning across the U.S. West (all times local):

12:47 p.m.

Fire officials say an Oregon wildfire in the scenic Columbia River Gorge has grown to nearly 16 square miles and is threatening homes.

Resident of about 400 homes have been forced to evacuate, while others have been warned to get ready.

A fire official told reporters Tuesday that no homes have been lost so far but crews were still assessing the damage. Portland Fire & Rescue Lt. Damon Simmons says the blaze spread overnight but was calming down as crews scrambled to get a handle on it.

Firefighters also are attacking the fire by air when smoky conditions allow.

More than 30 miles of Interstate 84 running east of Portland, Oregon, was closed. A state official says it’s unclear when it will reopen.

Multnomah County has declared a state of emergency over the fire that started Saturday.


12:30 p.m.

Authorities say a fast-moving wildfire in Utah has destroyed at least five homes and forced more than 1,000 people to evacuate.

Parts of two highways were also closed Tuesday morning as black smoke rolled over the roads.

High winds fed the blaze near a neighborhood of well-appointed homes nestled in the foothills about 30 miles (64 kilometers) north of Salt Lake City.

Two elementary schools near the fire were evacuated as a precaution.

Authorities say the fire has consumed about 500 acres (2 square kilometers).


12:00 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Defense has agreed to assign 200 active-duty soldiers to help fight a wildfire in Washington state.

Civilian firefighting commanders said Tuesday the soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, will undergo four days of training.

Then they will be sent to a complex of 14 wildfires in the Umpqua National Forest that have burned 47 square miles (120 square kilometers).

The soldiers will join about 1,000 firefighters already at the site.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, a federal agency that coordinates wildfire-fighting, says 80 large fires are burning on 2,200 square miles (5,700 square kilometers) in nine Western U.S. states.

The military has already dispatched three C-130s to drop fire-retardant slurry and two RC-26 surveillance aircraft to help fight Western fires.


11:30 a.m.

Firefighters have increased containment of a big Los Angeles wildfire from 30 percent to 70 percent.

The fire in the Verdugo Mountains burned around 11 square miles (28 square kilometers) since it erupted Friday and was spread by shifting winds. Crews working the blaze Tuesday are focusing on smoldering hotspots and extending containment lines.

Los Angeles fire spokesman Erik Scott says the number of destroyed single-family residences has increased to a total of five.


11:15 a.m.

A growing wildfire near Portland has shut down a lengthy stretch of highway through the scenic Columbia River Gorge and rained ash down on the Oregon city.

Smoke from blazes choked the U.S. West on Tuesday from Seattle to Denver, leading to health warnings and road closures. Many school districts canceled sports practices and recess because of poor air quality.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, a federal agency that coordinates wildfire-fighting, says 80 large fires are burning on 2,200 square miles (5,700 square kilometers) in nine Western states.

The 7-square-mile (18-square-kilometer) fire east of Portland forced hundreds of evacuations and sent embers jumping over the Columbia River, sparking blazes in Washington state.

The wildfire grew rapidly late Monday and overnight, forcing authorities to scramble to get people out of communities in just minutes on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.


12:51 a.m.

Wind-driven flames, hot temperatures and dry conditions are hampering firefighters across the West even after Labor Day, the unofficial end to a summer of devastating wildfires.

The dozens of fires burning across the West and Canada have blanketed the air with choking smoke from Oregon, where ash fell on the town of Cascade Locks, to Colorado, where health officials issued an air quality advisory alert.

A 14-square-mile (36-square-kilometer) fire in Montana’s Glacier National Park emptied the park’s busiest tourist spot as wind gusts drove the blaze toward the doorstep of a century-old lodge.

Outside California’s Yosemite National Park, a wind-fueled fire made its way deeper into a grove of 2,700-year-old giant sequoia trees. Officials said the fire had gone through about half the grove, and had not killed any trees.

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