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Dozens of Wildfires Continue to Burn in US West - 2002-06-04

Firefighters are making progress against a blaze that has burned 100 houses in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is one of more than two dozen wildland fires in eight Western states.

The fire near Canon City, Colorado, 160 kilometers southwest of Denver, was only 10 percent contained as of Tuesday morning. Three hundred homes remain threatened.

But Ron Gosnell, a spokesman for the joint-agency firefighting team, says the weather helped as a cold front entered the region Monday night.

"The greatest thing happened. Around midnight, the front went through and the humidity came up. It cooled down this morning," he said. "There's a good cloud cover. And this is just what the firefighters need to make good progress today."

Crews are using air tankers and helicopters to drop water and flame retardant as their colleagues on the ground clear brush to make a break around the fire.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but local police say it may have been caused a barbecue grill. Samantha Mccalla of the Fremont County Sheriff's Department says, luckily, no one has been injured.

"Thank goodness we've been really fortunate with no injuries and no casualties reported as of yet," she said.

The fire, one of four in Colorado, has burned 1,800 hectares.

In California, a timber and brush fire near the town of Ojai had burned 2,400 hectares as of Tuesday morning. A spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service says hot dry weather is slowing the firefighting effort.

Five brush fires are also burning in the Western state of New Mexico. The largest has scorched 9,000 hectares of dry forest land.