Raging U.S. wildfires burn homes, force evacuations, kill horses

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Raging Wildfires Out West Are Scorching Firefighting Budgets

Dozens of wildfires burning across the drought-parched U.S. Northwest on Tuesday have destroyed scores of structures, sparked evacuation orders for thousands of people, and killed at least 27 wild horses.

More than 100 homes have been destroyed since Friday in Washington state, Idaho and Oregon, authorities said.

About 200 U.S. soldiers have been called in to reinforce civilian firefighters battling almost 90 blazes that have blackened more than 1 million acres (400,000 hectares) across the country's arid West. The mobilization was the first of its kind since 2006.

To help battle the blazes, the U.S. Forest Service said fire managers are considering asking Australia and New Zealand to lend firefighters. Canadian crews, smokejumpers, and air tankers have already been assigned to northern Idaho and Montana.

See photos of the fires in Washington:

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Washington State wildfires August 2015
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Raging U.S. wildfires burn homes, force evacuations, kill horses
OMAK, WA - AUGUST 22: A makeshift fire truck puts water on a wildfire, which is part of the Okanogan Complex, as it burns through brush on August 22, 2015 near Omak, Washington. The fires have burned more tha 127,000 acres. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
OMAK, WA - AUGUST 23: A farmer mows alfalfa amid the smoke from the Okanagon Complex Wildfires on August 23, 2015 near Omak, Washington. More than 1,000 personnel are fighting the Okanagon Complex Fires which have burned more 239,000 acres. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
OKANOGAN, WA - AUGUST 22: Firefighters extinguish hotpots after a wildfire, part of the Okanogan Complex, swept through the area on August 22, 2015 near Okanogan, Washington. The Okanogan Complex fires have burned more than 127,000 acres. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
OMAK, WA - AUGUST 21: A wildfire, which is part of the Okanogan Complex, flares up on August 21, 2015 in the hills near Omak, Washington. The fires, which killed three firefighters and critically injured another, threaten homes and communities throughout the area. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The year-to-date acreage burned so far is about 7.1 million acres (2.9 million hectares) nationwide, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. It is the first time in 20 years that the area charred has exceeded 7 million acres by this date, the center said.

In north-central Washington, a cluster of wildfires destroyed at least 35 homes and 21 outbuildings on the outskirts of Chelan, a resort town at the southern tip of Lake Chelan, sheriff's spokesman Rich Magnussen said.

Officials halved to 1,000 the number of residences under evacuation orders on Tuesday from Monday as previously burned areas cooled, while firefighters prepared to face strong winds forecast over coming days, Magnussen said.

Officials expected to find as many as 50 homes and many more outbuildings burned as the county assessor continues in-person tallies, Magnussen said.

In Idaho, at least 27 wild horses were burned to death by a massive wildfire southwest of Boise, said U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Heather Tiel-Nelson.

Two other wild horses were euthanized, and Tiel-Nelson said more may be found killed by the so-called Soda fire, which was nearing containment on Tuesday after burning more than 280,000 acres (110,000 hectares).

In west-central Idaho, dozens of residents had to evacuate their homes near the resort town of McCall. Others were told to prepare to leave at a moment's notice.

In northern Idaho, firefighters battling a 58,000-acre (23,000-hectare) blaze reported cooler temperatures and higher humidity, which let them make significant gains for the first time since it was sparked by lightning on Thursday.

The so-called Clearwater Complex of fires, which was at about 25 percent containment on Tuesday, has destroyed 50 houses and 80 outbuildings near the town of Kamiah, Idaho. An elderly woman died when she fell and hit her head as she was trying to secure her backyard chickens and flee with her husband.

In central Oregon, 26 dwellings were destroyed over the weekend. About a dozen large fires are burning across the state, threatening hundreds of structures, authorities said.

Related: Photos from fires in California:

21 PHOTOS
NTP: Lower Lake, California Rocky Fire
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Raging U.S. wildfires burn homes, force evacuations, kill horses
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A firefighter from Windsor, California, uses a had tool to hike up a hill while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed three homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A firefighter monitors a back fire as it approaches an out building while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A firefighter from Windsor, California, walks next to a wall of flames as he starts a back fire in tall dry grass while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed three homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A firefighter from Windsor, California, walks next to a wall of flames as he starts a back fire in tall dry grass while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed three homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A Cal Fire firefighter rides on the side of a fire engine while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 8,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed three homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A back fire burns through a field of tall dry grass as firefighters battle the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A firefighter from Windsor, California, moves away from flames as he starts a back fire while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed three homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: Firefighters walk by an out-building that they were able to protect from a back fire while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A Cal Fire firefighter uses a hose to put out a spot fire while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 8,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed three homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: Firefighters from Kentfield, California, spray water on an out-building as they monitor a back fire while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A large plume of smoke rises from the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 8,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A firefighter from Kentfield, California, wipes sweat from his forehead while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: Flames from the Rocky Fire burn through a field on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 8,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed three homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: The shell of an RV sits in an area charred by the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 8,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: A sign charred by the Rocky Fire hangs on a fence in front of a home on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 8,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: Cal Fire firefighters talk while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 8,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed three homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: Firefighters from Kentfield, California, spray water on an out-building as they monitor a back fire while battling the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: Flames from the Rocky Fire burn through a field on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 8,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed three homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: The shell of a car sits in an area charred by the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 8,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOWER LAKE, CA - JULY 30: Charred tress stand on a hillside that was burned by the Rocky Fire on July 30, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. More than 600 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has grown to 8,000 acres since it started yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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(Reporting by David Ryder in Chelan, Washington, Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho, and Courtney Sherwood in Portland, Oregon; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing byMohammad Zargham and Eric Walsh)

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