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The Latest: Firefighters halt advance of Arizona blaze

DENVER – The Latest on the fires burning in the West: (all times are local):

12:45 pm

The authorities say that the fire-fighters have stopped the advance of a forest fire that prompted dozens of homes in north-central Arizona forest is to be put on pre-evacuation notice.

The lightning-sparked fire has burned 170 acres (69 ha) on the Mogollon Rim since it began Wednesday in Cococino County. County sheriff’s spokesman Jon Paxton said about 50 homes remained on pre-evacuation alert Thursday.

About 140 firefighters and other staff are assigned to the blaze. The burn in the area where a wildfire charred more than 25 square miles (65 square kilometers) in the months of April and May.

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12:20 pm

New Mexico’s most populous county is the closure of the open space areas on the east side of the Sandia Mountains because of the high risk of fire.

The closures in Bernalillo County mark the latest national forests and state parks in New Mexico and elsewhere in the West its limits, while the dry and the threat of wildfire persists.

The Bernalillo County closures take effect Friday and will remain so until the area receives a significant amount of moisture and the danger subsides.

County Fire Marshal Keith Clark says the idea is to reduce the chances of a human-caused fire.

The federal drought map released Thursday shows extreme and exceptional drought — the two worst categories — a solid base in the Southwest of america.

Some rain is expected in the coming days. But forecasters warn that it will not be enough to erase the drought.

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11:25 pm

Another day of hot, dry and windy weather is expected in the south of the state of Wyoming, where a wildfire has been burning virtually unabated this week.

The fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest just north of the Colorado state line has destroyed a house and two outbuildings, since it was first reported on Sunday.

Fire-fighters, who focus their efforts on protecting homes and structures, have not been able to get in a possible containment of the fire, mainly because of the strong winds driving the blaze.

Fire officials say wind gusts up to 30 mph (48 km / h) are expected Thursday afternoon.

The fire has burned about 17 square miles (44 square kilometers), and the forced evacuation of nearly 400 homes in 10 small communities in the area.

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10:34 pm

National Forest Service officials told residents of 163 more houses in the vicinity of the fire in southwestern Colorado is ready to leave Thursday as well as residents who had been allowed to return to 180 homes on Wednesday.

Dry thunderstorms and gusty wind have an extensive San Juan National Forest wildfire that has forced evacuations of more than 1,900 homes.

The fire is 13 miles (43 kilometers) north of Durango, black has made more than 45 square miles (116 square kilometers) and forced officials to close the San Juan National Forest in the Four Corners of the Region.

The Four Corners region where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet, is in the middle of a large swath of exceptional drought, the worst category of drought.

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