DENVER/LOS ANGELES - The number of homes destroyed by a Colorado wildfire rose above 500 on Tuesday as rain dampened the flames and allowed damage assessment teams to enter charred neighborhoods, and other threatening blazes grew in Alaska and elsewhere in the West.
Authorities said the so-called Black Forest Fire, which has burned in the rolling hills outside Colorado Springs for the past week and killed at least two people, was 85 percent contained by Tuesday.
The most destructive fire in Colorado's history has charred 22 square miles (57 square km), destroyed 502 homes, and underscored concerns that prolonged drought conditions in the US West could intensify this year's fire season.
Fire incident commander Rich Harvey of the US Forest Service told reporters rain had allowed crews to carve containment lines around all but one section of the blaze.
"It is anticipated we will identify additional homes considered to be a total loss," El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said.