Gaining upper hand on fires
A firefighter works around a wildfire-damaged home Wednesday in San Jose, Calif., as crews began making progress against dozens of wildfires across the West. The number of structures threatened in Northern California was downgraded from several thousand to about 600.
OROVILLE, Calif. — Firefighters all around the U.S. West finally saw some real progress Wednesday, surrounding once-fierce blazes and allowing evacuees to start heading back home.
Officials on Wednesday downgraded the number of structures threatened by a Northern California fire from several thousand to roughly 600. Authorities surveying the damage said at least 41 homes and 55 other buildings had been destroyed near the town of Oroville.
Some residents had returned home after fleeing the flames in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, about 60 miles north of Sacramento, but thousands remained evacuated as the fire entered its fifth day.
The blaze burned nearly 9 square miles and injured four firefighters. Officials said the fire was more than half contained Wednesday.
In Colorado, crews started to wind down the fight against a wildfire that temporarily forced hundreds of people to evacuate near the resort town of Breckenridge. Firefighters built containment lines around at least 85 percent of the blaze.
A resident looks inside a fire-ravaged home Wednesday in San Jose, Calif., one of several Western states where wildfires continued to burn.