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Western Fires Calming Down

Firefighters in the West are getting a handle on several wildfires they've been battling the past few days.

Winds died down and temperatures cooled Monday, allowing 400 firefighters in central Utah to gain the upper hand against a fire that has burned more than 61,400 acres of dry grass and trees.

Crews carried water by hand up steep mountain areas that water-dropping helicopters could not reach. The fire, burning in pinion pine, cheat grass and juniper trees since Friday, was expected to be controlled by Thursday.

Centered near the towns of Eureka and Mammoth, about 55 miles south of Salt Lake City, the fire twice drove residents from their homes over the weekend. No one was injured and only three abandoned shacks burned.

The fire began in a patch of grass along some railroad tracks and was fanned by 50 mph wind gusts and hot, dry weather. It spread when a tanker truck containing 11,000 gallons of diesel fuel exploded.

Meantime, firefighters in Nevada have a 12,000-acre blaze 85 percent contained. It's burning northeast of Sparks.

In Northern California, a 2,000-acre fire near Lewiston is also nearly contained. Crews hope to get full control by Friday night.

And firefighters continue their work on a 7,700-acre blaze spanning western Colorado and eastern Utah. The fire is actually two blazes that were pushed together Sunday afternoon by hot winds.

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