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The fire is burning in Costilla and Huerfano counties, and the region has been declared a disaster area by Gov. John Hickenlooper, the station says.

"Due to the erratic wind behaviour, it's heading wherever it wants to head at the moment", McLean said. The arrest warrant says he handed a passport from Denmark to local authorities and that immigration officials reported he was in the USA illegally, as his visa expired. It's not clear if he has a lawyer representing him.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Gabe Lauderbale said the sprawling wildfire is burning through 1.5 square miles (4 square kilometres) of rugged terrain an hour.

A wildfire burning in central OR forced residents from their homes and shut down US 26 for almost six hours east of Warm Springs on Monday.

But the danger remained high through to the end of July in Utah and parts of California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The danger in the Northwest is expected to persist through September. Twenty-two structures have been destroyed by the fire.

Earlier, the Walker Ridge area had been under an evacuation notice, but on Friday night they were allowed to return home.

"So I think this is fairly indicative of what we're going to be seeing more often, and unfortunately it also is a precursor I think for what's going to be a longer fire season", he said.

In neighbouring Wyoming, about 150 firefighters tried to contain a wildfire burning in the Medicine Bow National Forest near the Colorado border.

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Evacuations were ordered between County Road 63 to County Road 76, west of Highway 16, plus the Murphy Ranch area. Highway 12 is closed in the Cuchara Valley area.

"We've got hot, dry and windy conditions", Helmerick said. The homes that are threatened about 129 kilometres southeast of Salt Lake City are not primary residences. It was only 5 percent contained late on Monday. An air warning is in place as the blazes rip through Northern California.

It is threatening 100 buildings and has forced evacuations.

The agency forecast significantly above-normal large fires for July across the western U.S.

Wildfires have burned through almost one million hectares in the United States this year as of June 29 - well above the average, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

A 52-year-old man from Denmark being held in connection with the more than 56,000-acre Spring Creek fire was apparently among the first to report the blaze last week and had burns on his body when he spoke to authorities about its ignition, according to arrest documents.

No homes have burned but the blaze is surging through sparsely populated areas of Yolo and Napa counties about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the state capitol of Sacramento.