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National Guard helps patrol Colorado fire damage

By Mead Gruver

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, June 30 2012 11:17 a.m. MDT

Among the fires elsewhere in the West:

— Idaho: At least 60 homes near Pocatello, Idaho, burned in a fast-moving wildfire that started Thursday evening. The blaze covered more than 1½ square miles. Officials said it was human-caused but gave no details.

— Utah: Residents of nearly a thousand homes in Herriman, just southwest of Salt Lake City, were under an evacuation order Saturday after a wildfire burned through the area, destroying at least four houses and several other structures, authorities said. Fire crews appeared to have the 350-acre Rose Crest fire at bay Friday evening.

A 70-square-mile wildfire in Utah's Sanpete County destroyed at least 160 structures, more than 50 of them primary homes. A similar sized blaze in Utah was threatening about 75 structures.

— Wyoming: A day of hot, dry, windy weather kept firefighters from making much headway Friday on two large, out-of-control wildfires. The third large wildfire in Medicine Bow National Forest in the southeast part of the state quickly overwhelmed initial firefighting efforts and forced the evacuation of about 100 homes, officials said Friday.

— Montana: Residents of eastern and central Montana who evacuated due to wildfires are returning to find neighborhoods scorched and many houses reduced to piles of ash. Fire officials said Friday that 70 homes burned in the 20,000-acre Dahl fire south of Roundup. At least two dozen structures were reported burned in a 270-square-mile fire in the Ashland.

Authorities battling six wildfires in Utah said Colorado was taking most of the available fire crews, leaving them short-handed.

Utah fire commander Cheto Olais said leaders at one Utah blaze had requested about 200 additional firefighters but will probably get no more than 20. "A lot of assets are going to Colorado," Olais said.

"We're strapped nationally," he told The Associated Press. "There's only so many firefighters, and they're already out in the field."

Associated Press writers Thomas Peipert in Colorado Springs, Dan Elliott and Rema Rahman in Denver, Brian Skoloff in Salt Lake City, Paul Foy in Price, Utah, Matthew Brown in Roundup, Mont., Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho and Matt Volz in Helena, Mont., contributed to this report.

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